Premier Croatian tennis player Mirjana Lučić-Baroni will play for the first time of her career in the semi-finals of the WTA tournament in American Charleston, where she defeat on Friday American Shelby Rogers (52nd in WTA) with 6-7 (7), 6-1, 6-1
Despite tough, windy conditions and losing the first set, 35-year-old Croatian veteran continued her winning streak in Charleston and for the second time this season proved to her 11 year younger opponent that she is currently the better player, after defeating her for the first time two months ago at the tournament in Acapulco, Jutarnji List reported on April 8, 2017.
Mirjana could have won in two sets if she had managed to make use of the set point on her service at 6-5 in the tie-break of the first set. However, the American played a great return and four points later, after 67 minutes of struggle, she won the set in which she twice had an extra break (3-2, 4-3) and missed the set point when serving with a 5-4 lead.
Rogers also won the first game of the second set, came to 15-30 on Lučić-Baroni service, when a hurricane turnaround of the Croatian player began. Mirjana first lined up six games to win the second set, but did not stop there. She also won the first five games of the third set before Rogers finally won a game. It was a consolation game for the 24-year-old from Charleston, as only two minutes later Mirjana Lučić-Baroni served without issues for the final 6-7 (7), 6-1, 6-1. The second two sets lasted three minutes shorter than it took Rogers to win the first set.
“I would have rather played a ferocious lion in normal weather than in such tough, windy conditions. I am proud of myself, winning two matches in a row in such conditions,” said Mirjana Lučić-Baroni immediately after the duel.
“You have to be proud of Shelby. She is a great player. She has a great tennis present and future,” commended Mirjana her opponent and explained how the turnaround came about.
“I knew I had to keep fighting, as no one can fight as I can.”
Lučić-Baroni will play in the Saturday semi-finals against the winner of the match between Danish Caroline Wozniacki and Latvian Jelena Ostapenko. If she continues her winning streak, Mirjana will become the second Croatian tennis player to make it to the finals of the grass tournament in Charleston, after 2002 when the impressive list was populated by Iva Majoli who won the title match against Swiss Patty Schnyder.
Playing in the second semi-final are 29-year-old German Laura Siegmund and 19-year-old Russian Darija Kasatkina.