Karolina Muchova ended 2022 ranked No. 149 in the world after a very difficult season. The Czech was not being touted as a player who was likely to make major inroads in 2023. However, she swiftly changed those assertions. This article discusses the highs and the lows of Muchova’s season.
Karolina Muchova 2023 Season Review
Muchova’s best achievement was a sublime run at the French Open. She began by upsetting the 2021 semifinalist at Roland-Garros, Maria Sakkari, in the opening round. Three further victories set up a quarterfinal with the 2021 runner-up in Paris, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, but the Czech swept her aside easily in straight sets. In one of the matches of the season, the 27-year-old then prevailed 7-6 6-7 7-5 in the semifinal against Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka. The quality and drama was even higher in her final against world No. 1 Iga Swiatek. After losing the opening set, Muchova battled back to win the second set 7-5 and was a break up twice in the final set. Swiatek then showed her champion’s mentality to claim the title with a 6-2 5-7 6-4 triumph, but Muchova’s run was still one of the stories of the season.
The Czech also had a strong US Open campaign. She only dropped one set on a run to to the semifinal. That came in the second set of her 6-3 5-7 6-1 fourth-round win over Xinyu Wang. Straight-set victories were claimed against Storm Hunter, Magdalena Frech, Taylor Townsend, and Sorana Cirstea. Muchova’s hopes were ended by the eventual US Open champion Coco Gauff 4-6 5-7 in the semifinal.
Muchova also reached the first WTA 1000 final of her career in Cincinnati. Her path to that final was impressive. She beat this year’s WTA Elite Trophy winner Beatriz Haddad Maia in the opening round and repeated her victories against Maria Sakkari and Aryna Sabalenka. The Czech was thwarted once again by Coco Gauff in the final. Muchova also had solid tournaments in Dubai and Indian Wells, reaching the quarterfinals in both.
Muchova suffered an unfortunate end to her season. She sustained an issue to her right wrist during the US Open, and ended up not returning again to the court in 2023. That meant the French Open runner-up was not able to make her maiden appearance at the WTA Finals, despite qualifying for the event. It was an unfortunate end to such an excellent season for the Czech.
Muchova also had disappointing tournaments at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. She was a semifinalist in Melbourne in 2021, but lost a dramatic contest in the second round against Danielle Collins 7-6 2-6 6-7. At Wimbledon, Muchova fell in the first round. She exited to Jule Niemeier 4-6 7-5 1-6. The Cincinnati finalist is a two-time quarterfinalist at SW19. Hence, that setback was disappointing, although it may have been a hangover from the French Open final.
In addition, Muchova is likely to be frustrated that her high level did not result in a title win. She performed particularly well at some big events, as was already mentioned. But the former Korea Open title winner could not take any opportunities presented at WTA 250 or 500 tournaments to win an event.
Overall, despite not winning a title, 2023 was a superb season for Muchova. She finished the year as the World No. 8 and achieved unprecedented success at the Grand Slam and WTA 1000 level. It will be interesting to observe whether the current Czech No. 2 can take the next step in 2024.
Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane – USA TODAY Sports