In a high-quality quarterfinal of quick points and breathtaking winners, WTA veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni continued her spectacular Australian Open story with a 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory over world number five Karolina Pliskova, who had been undefeated in the 2017 season, having won the Brisbane International in the lead-up to the Grand Slam in Melbourne.
After saving a break point with an ace in the opening game, the fifth-seeded Pliskova built a 3-1 lead, but focused and determined Lucic-Baroni displayed brilliant tennis that felt like walls narrowing down on Pliskova and recovered to 3-all before dominantly breaking the Czech again in the tenth game to claim the first set.
The world No.79 Lucic-Baroni opened the second set with a 2-0 lead and even though Pliskova answered by winning three games in a row, the Croat, just like in the previous set, managed to level to 3-all. However, on Pliskova’s break point in the seventh game, Lucic-Baroni made a horrible mistake with an overhead that went into the net and soon the set was Pliskova’s.
Never losing fate or feeling intimidated by the fifth-ranked Pliskova, the 34-year-old Lucic-Baroni strongly opened the decider, 3-1. Throughout the match she looked so confident and absolutely didn’t care about the caliber of her opponent or the importance of the match she was playing. She was focused on every point, regardless of the scoreboard. Even though Pliskova won three straight games to lead 4-3 in the third set, Lucic-Baroni hung in there for 4-4 and then broke Pliskova to love to serve for the enormous victory. The grand moment didn’t freeze Lucic-Baroni, on the contrary, the Croat knew that she deserved it and stormed through her service game to take out the favorite.
Next up for Lucic-Baroni will be second seed Serena Williams, who defeated ninth seed Johanna Konta in the second Wednesday’s quarterfinal. (photos: Jimmie48)