Wednesday, January 25, 2017

AO 2017 QF: Lucic-Baroni stuns Pliskova to get the ticket for the semifinals

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni knocked out Karolina Pliskova 6-4 3-6 6-4 in one hour and 50 minutes and moves into the semifinals of the Aussie Open 2017.

"This is what I've been dreaming about. This is what I've been training for. At 34 years old, like I said before, I have a wonderful home. I'm happily married. I would be perfectly okay being at home enjoying my family. But I really knew deep down in my soul that I have these results in me. To now be here and actually live these moments, it's incredible."

Struggling with the rhythm at the beginning of the match, Pliskova went for her plan B, showing a good defense to take an early break and consolidating it by her big weapon first serve. Advancing one meter inside of the court, Lucic-Baroni tried to return as early as possible and came back with some heavy balls to level the set. On the big moments of the next games, the 5th seed looked quite tight and the Croatian found some amazing angles with her giant forehand to steal the first set.

She continued being solid at the start of the second, but after, her shots started losing range producing a lot more of unforced errors and Karolina completed a run of winning the next 6 games of 7 to tie the contest.   

In the decider, both players had ups and downs, exchanging some breaks of serve until the 8th game when Mirjana found again the accuracy and the consistency of the forehand. Facing a late foot injury, she hit four aces in the last two service games to close out her biggest win in over a decade.

"I was just really thankful, really thankful to God that I was able to do this today, that I was able to finish my match. I was really worried. I was concerned. I didn't know if I had it in me to finish it. I started hurting pretty bad mid-match, especially towards the end. The fact that I was able to do it and so well at the end, I was really grateful."

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