NEW YORK — On more than one occasion before her match tonight against a multiple Grand Slam winner, Czech Republic tennis player Karolina Muchova, a qualifier ranked No. 202 in the world, walked past a guest services worker in the media room underneath Arthur Ashe Stadium named Nick, who had barely an idea as to who she was. Just a few hours later, and after Muchova pulled off a major upset late on Wednesday night, Nick and thousands more across the world now know much more about her.
Muchova became the latest player in the rich history of the US Open to thrill fans and spectators alike as a night match turned into morning in Queens, as she came from behind to defeat twelfth-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza 3,6, 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the third round in her maiden Grand Slam appearance.
The dream win was almost impossible to imagine after Muchova got off to a nightmarish start, as Muguruza won the first five games of the match and appeared ready to turn out the lights at Louis Armstrong Stadium early. Though Muchova lost that set, she won the next three games after going down 0-5, making the scoreline respectable while slowly seizing momentum of the match.
Muchova proceeded to win the first three games of the second set on her way to a 4-1 lead. Muguruza was able to get things back on serve and eventually evened the match at 4-4. However, Muchova broke the two-time Wimbledon champion at 5-4 to win the second set and set up the chance at an improbable victory in the third.
Down 0-2 in the third, Muchova’s chance at a comeback appeared over once again as Muguruza had four chances to break in the third service game to open up a double-break lead. All four break chances were saved by Muchova, who eventually won that service game to get on the board in the third before breaking Muguruza on her next service game.
After two hours and 27 minutes, Muchova became an obscure tennis figure no more as a Muguruza shot went long on match point, sealing the Czech’s place in the third round.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Wednesday’s Day 3 action, with all photos taken by our senior photographer, Robert Cole. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 26 pictures in total.