Mirjana Lučić-Baroni

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Mirjana Lučić-Baroni
Australian Open 2013 - Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.jpg
Lučić-Baroni at the 2013 Australian Open
Full name Mirjana Lučić-Baroni
Country  Croatia
Residence Sarasota, United States[1]
Born (1982-03-09) 9 March 1982 (age 33)
Dortmund, West Germany
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)
Turned pro 26 April 1997[1]
Plays Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Prize money $2,096,225
Singles
Career record 331–255
Career titles 3 WTA, 4 ITF
Highest ranking 32 (11 May 1998)
Current ranking 59 (2 March 2015)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open 2R (1998)
French Open 3R (2001)
Wimbledon SF (1999)
US Open 4R (2014)
Doubles
Career record 73–69
Career titles 3 WTA, 3 ITF
Highest ranking 19 (26 October 1998)
Current ranking 76 (15 September 2014)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open W (1998)
French Open 3R (2013)
Wimbledon QF (2013)
US Open 3R (2013)
Team competitions
Fed Cup 14–3
Last updated on: 15 September 2014.

Mirjana Lučić-Baroni (née Lučić; born 9 March 1982 in Dortmund, West Germany[1]) is a professional Croatian tennis player, currently playing with the Babolat Pure Strike. She enjoyed a promising career on the WTA Tour in the late 1990s, during which she set several "youngest-ever" records, won the Grand Slam women's doubles title at the Australian Open in 1998 when she was only 15 years old, partnered by Martina Hingis, won the first ever professional tournament she entered, the 1997 Croatian Bol Ladies Open, and defended it the following year at age 16, making her the youngest player in history to successfully defend a title.[2] She reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1999.[1] Following a series of personal problems from 2000 onwards, she faded from the scene.

After toiling through the ITF circuit through much of the next decade, Lučić re-emerged as a WTA regular following the 2010 season. She married Daniele Baroni on 15 November 2011.[3] In September 2014 she upset world number 2 Simona Halep in the third round of the US Open.[4] The following week she beat Venus Williams at the Tournoi de Québec singles final to claim the title (also winning the doubles event), which set the record for the longest gap between titles in the Open Era.[5]

Biography[edit]

Early life and junior success[edit]

Lučić began playing tennis at age four by hiding in the car when her older sister went to tennis classes and then sneaking into the lessons herself. As a junior player, she won the girls' singles title at the US Open in 1996, and the girls' singles and doubles crowns at the Australian Open in 1997, becoming only the third player in the Open Era to win two junior Grand Slam singles titles by the age of 14 (the others being Martina Hingis and Jennifer Capriati).

1997–98: Grand Slam title[edit]

Lučić turned professional in April 1997 at the age of 15. One week after turning pro, she won the very first WTA Tour event she played in at Bol. She then reached the final of her second career event in Strasbourg, where she lost to Steffi Graf.

In 1998, playing in her very first tour doubles event, Lučić became the youngest player in history to win a title at the Australian Open at the age of 15 years, 10 months and 21 days, when she and Hingis won the women's doubles title. The win made Lučić the first player to win both the very first singles and doubles events they had ever played in on the WTA Tour. And she went on to win the second doubles event of her career when she partnered Hingis to win the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. Later that year, Lučić defended her singles title at Bol, becoming the youngest player ever to defend a tour title at age 16 years, 1 month and 24 days. She also finished runner-up in the 1998 mixed doubles event at Wimbledon, partnering Mahesh Bhupathi.

1999: Wimbledon semifinal, then personal problems[edit]

In 1999, Lučić achieved her career-best Grand Slam singles performance when she reached the semifinals at Wimbledon, before losing in three sets to Graf. In the third round, she stunned world no. 4 and nine-time Grand Slam champion Monica Seles. She also beat 1998 Wimbledon finalist Nathalie Tauziat in the quarterfinals after Tauziat served for the match twice in the third set.

After 1999, Lučić suffered a series of personal and financial problems and failed to make any further significant impact on the tour. She said that she had been abused by her father, Marinko, from early childhood.[6][7][8][9] She continued to compete until the 2003 US Open, then proceeded to take an extended hiatus from competition; her career-high world rankings were world number 32 in singles and world number 19 in doubles (both achieved in 1998). She played only two tournaments in the 2004, 2005, and 2006 seasons combined.

2007–08: Return to tour[edit]

Mirjana Lučić gave an interview in the [10]New York Daily News in April 2006 explaining why she stopped playing and describing her life with an abusive father, vowing that would not stop her and she would continue to fight to the end. She had been training with a new coach, Ivan Beros, and said she was fit and ready to continue tennis.

As a wildcard in the qualifying draw of the Cellular South Cup in Memphis in February, Lučić won one match (defeating Melanie Oudin) before losing in the second round to Natalie Grandin. She was also awarded a wild card to the 2007 Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells in March, where she again won her first match before losing in the second round.[11]

She also received a wild card to the Tiro A Volo tournament in Rome, where she lost in the first round to Karin Knapp. That was her third tournament within the previous 12 months, and she received her first WTA ranking (number 524) since her return to the professional tour.

Even though she lost the first round to Knapp in the $100,000 Rome Challenger, she received a qualifying wildcard for the 1.3 million dollar tournament in May at the same city and beat the 65th-ranked player in the world, Elena Vesnina. She then went on to lose to Catalina Castaño in the second round. Her ranking jumped to 444 with the result.

Lučić played a mixture of ITF and WTA qualifiers in 2008, her best result reaching the quarterfinals in Florence in May. In September 2008 Mirjana started working with her new coach Alberto Gutierrez, planning to play a full schedule the following year.

2009–11[edit]

In the 2009 season, she was given a wildcard into the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. In her first WTA main draw match since 2007 Indian Wells, she lost to Anne Keothavong in the first round.

Lučić then continued to toil on the ITF challenger circuit for several years prior to mounting somewhat of a comeback in the 2010 season. During that year, Lučić won her first title in 12 years at a $25,000 ITF event in Jackson, Florida on 11 April. Shortly after, Lučić qualified for the WTA event in Birmingham, going on to win her first main draw match since 2007 Indian Wells, this time over Colombian Mariana Duque. She continued her good form as she defeated fellow Croatian player Karolina Šprem in the second round. She was beaten by top 20 player Aravane Rezaï of France in the third round. Lučić then competed in the Wimbledon Qualifying tournament in Roehampton. She won her first two rounds and beat Michaëlla Krajicek in the third round to qualify for the main draw of Wimbledon, her first Grand Slam since the 2002 US Open. After a good showing, Lučić fell to 14th seed Victoria Azarenka in the first round on Centre Court.

After Wimbledon, Lučić moved onto the European summer clay court events. She failed to qualify for the 2010 Swedish Open in Bastad but the following week came through three rounds of qualifying at the 2010 Palermo event, and won her first round match, defeating Pauline Parmentier 7–5, 0–6, 7–6 recovering from a 0–4 third set deficit and saving 3 match points. She then fell to third seed Sara Errani in the second round recovering a 2–4 deficit to force a tie-break before falling 0–6, 6–7. Her ranking rose to 151, the highest of her comeback so far.

Following Palermo, Lučić returned to the United States for the summer hard court season. Her first event was the $700,000 Premier event in Stanford, the Bank of the West Classic. Seeded fifth in the qualifying draw, Lučić defeated both Heidi El Tabakh and Tamaryn Hendler in straight sets before repeating her Wimbledon victory over Michaëlla Krajicek with a straight-sets win to qualify for the main draw where she lost to Russian Maria Kirilenko.

In the 2010 US Open, after winning three qualifying matches to enter the main draw, she beat Alicia Molik to set up a second round clash with number four seed Jelena Janković. Lučić lost in three sets. Even with this defeat, this was her best performance in a Grand Slam for nearly a decade.

Lučić started out the 2011 season poorly with a string of early losses on both the WTA and ITF circuits early in the year. Her fortunes began to change during the clay court season where Lučić reached her first WTA Tour quarterfinal in over 10 years at the 2011 Strasbourg event, losing to Anabel Medina Garrigues.

2012[edit]

Lučić-Baroni began the 2012 season losing in qualifying at Brisbane and Sydney in January. She also failed to qualify for the 2012 Australian Open. She struggled to find her form, losing early at the tournaments in Midland and Memphis, as well as the Premier line-up events of Indian Wells, Miami and Charleston. She also lost in the first round at Roland Garros to Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Lučić-Baroni had a breakthrough run at Wimbledon, reaching the third round as a qualifier. She stunned ninth seed Marion Bartoli en route to the second round. However, her run was ended by Roberta Vinci in a tight match.

2014[edit]

At the 2014 Wimbledon Championships, Lučić-Baroni faced former number one Victoria Azarenka in the first round, but lost to the Belarusian in straight sets, after having set points in the second set.[12]

A few weeks later, a resurgent Lučić-Baroni made major waves at the 2014 US Open. She defeated No. 25 seed Garbiñe Muguruza in the first round, 6–3, 7–6(7–4), and Shahar Peer in the second round, 6–7(8–10), 6–3, 6–2, to gain a berth in the third round for the first time since 1998.[13] She then pulled off a huge upset, stunning second seed Simona Halep in straight sets, 7–6(8–6), 6–2, to win a spot in the Round of 16—the best result of her career at this tournament, and her best showing at a Grand Slam since reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon in 1999.[14] She went on to lose this round to 13th seed Italian Sara Errani in three sets 3–6, 6–2, 0–6.

However, only two weeks later she entered the Quebec City event and reached the singles final, where she pulled off another major upset by beating Venus Williams 6–4, 6–3 on 14 September, setting a record for the longest gap between titles in WTA history, as her previous win happened 16 years and four months earlier at the 1998 Croatian Bol Ladies Open.[15] In addition, paired with Czech player Lucie Hradecká, she won the doubles final of the tournament on the same day.

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Women's doubles (1–0)[edit]

Outcome Year Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1998 Australian Open Hard Switzerland Martina Hingis United States Lindsay Davenport
Belarus Natasha Zvereva
6–4, 2–6, 6–3

Mixed doubles (0–1)[edit]

Outcome Year Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1998 Wimbledon Grass India Mahesh Bhupathi United States Serena Williams
Belarus Max Mirnyi
4–6, 4–6

WTA finals[edit]

Singles: 4 (3 titles, 1 runner-up)[edit]

Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
WTA Tour Championships (0–0)
Tier I / Premier Mandatory & Premier 5 (0–0)
Tier II / Premier (0–1)
Tier III, IV & V / International (3–0)
Finals by surface
Hard (0–0)
Clay (2–1)
Grass (0–0)
Carpet (1–0)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1. 4 May 1997 Croatian Bol Ladies Open, Bol, Croatia Clay United States Corina Morariu 7–5, 6–7(4–7), 7–6(7–5)
Runner-up 1. 24 May 1997 Internationaux de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France Clay Germany Steffi Graf 2–6, 5–7
Winner 2. 3 May 1998 Croatian Bol Ladies Open, Bol, Croatia Clay United States Corina Morariu 6–4, 6–2
Winner 3. 14 September 2014 Coupe Banque Nationale, Quebec City, Canada Carpet (i) United States Venus Williams 6–4, 6–3

Doubles: 4 (3 titles, 1 runner-up)[edit]

Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (1–0)
WTA Tour Championships (0–0)
Tier I / Premier Mandatory & Premier 5 (1–0)
Tier II / Premier (0–0)
Tier III, IV & V / International (1–1)
Finals by surface
Hard (1–0)
Clay (0–1)
Grass (0–0)
Carpet (2–0)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1. 1 February 1998 Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia Hard Switzerland Martina Hingis United States Lindsay Davenport
Belarus Natasha Zvereva
6–4, 2–6, 6–3
Winner 2. 8 February 1998 Toray Pan Pacific Open, Tokyo, Japan Carpet (i) Switzerland Martina Hingis United States Lindsay Davenport
Belarus Natasha Zvereva
7–5, 6–4
Runner-up 1. 2 May 1998 Croatian Bol Ladies Open, Bol, Croatia Clay South Africa Joannette Kruger Argentina Laura Montalvo
Argentina Paola Suárez
W/O
Winner 3. 14 September 2014 Coupe Banque Nationale, Quebec City, Canada Carpet (i) Czech Republic Lucie Hradecká Germany Julia Görges
Czech Republic Andrea Hlaváčková
6–3, 7–6(10–8)

ITF Circuit finals[edit]

$100,000 tournaments
$75,000 tournaments
$50,000 tournaments
$25,000 tournaments
$10,000 tournaments

Singles: 7 (4–3)[edit]

Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1. 15 December 1996 Salzburg, Austria Carpet (i) United States Chanda Rubin 1–6, 2–6
Runner-up 2. 22 June 1997 Marseille, France Clay France Amelie Cocheteux 6–4, 5–7, 4–6
Winner 1. 3 August 1997 Makarska, Croatia Clay Austria Sandra Dopfer 6–1, 6–4
Runner-up 3. 1 November 2009 Bayamon, Puerto Rico Hard Paraguay Rossana de los Ríos 3–6, 4–6
Winner 2. 11 April 2010 Jackson, MS, United States Clay United States Jamie Hampton 7–5, 6–3
Winner 3. 26 September 2010 Albuquerque, NM, United States Hard United States Lindsay Lee-Waters 6–1, 6–4
Winner 4. 13 October 2013 Joué-lès-Tours, France Hard (i) Belgium An-Sophie Mestach 6–4, 6–2

Doubles: 3 (3–0)[edit]

Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1. 15 December 1996 Salzburg, Austria Carpet (i) United States Chanda Rubin Germany Adriana Barna
Germany Anca Barna
6–3, 6–2
Winner 2. 4 November 2012 New Braunfels, United States Hard Russia Elena Bovina Colombia Mariana Duque-Marino
Venezuela Adriana Pérez
6–3, 4–6, [10–8]
Winner 3. 10 February 2013 Midland, United States Hard (i) Hungary Melinda Czink Brazil Maria-Fernanda Alves
United Kingdom Samantha Murray
5–7, 6–4, [10–7]

Singles performance timeline[edit]

Tournaments 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 04–09 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 W–L
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open A 2R 1R 1R A A A A A 1R Q2 1R 1R 1–6
French Open A A 1R 1R 3R 2R Q2 A A 1R 1R 1R 1R 3–8
Wimbledon A 2R SF 2R Q1 A Q3 A 1R 1R 3R 2R 1R 10–8
US Open 3R 3R 2R 1R Q2 1R Q1 A 2R 2R 1R 1R 4R 10–10
Win–Loss 2–1 4–3 6–4 1–4 2–1 1–2 0–0 0–0 1–2 1–4 2–3 1–4 3–4 24–32

Doubles performance timeline[edit]

Tournaments 1998 1999 2000 2001–10 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 W–L
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open W 1R 2R A A A 3R 2R 1R 9–5
French Open A A A A 2R A 3R 1R 3–3
Wimbledon A A A A A 2R QF 2R 5–2
US Open 1R 1R A A 1R 1R 3R 1R 2–6
Win–Loss 6–1 0–2 1–1 0–0 1–2 1–2 8–4 2–3 0–1 19–16

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Mirjana Lučić-Baroni at the Women's Tennis Association
  2. ^ "Mirjana Lucic gets 1st US Open win in 11 years". Tennis.com. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "A Fairytale Wedding: Mirjana Lucic Marries". Women's Tennis Association. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Onetime Prodigy Turning Heads Again at 32". New York Times. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "LUCIC-BARONI STUNS VENUS IN QUÉBEC". WTA. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Mirjana Lučić: Otac Marinko mi je uništio karijeru". Jutarnji list (in Croatian). 8 May 2006. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Spremna za povratak u Hrvatsku". Gloria (in Croatian). 17 May 2007. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Wimbledon 2011: Art of tennis parenting can often blur at the edges". guardian.co.uk. 23 June 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "Wimbledon 2011: Marion Bartoli blast shows why dads should remain mum". The Daily Telegraph. 26 June 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  10. ^ Coffey, Wayne (7 May 2006). "Former phenom hits back at IMG, father in struggle to return to top of tennis world". New York Daily News. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  11. ^ Werthei, Jon (26 February 2007). "Venus pulls a Serena; Federer makes history at No. 1". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 13 May 2010. Receives wild card to Indian Wells 
  12. ^ "Court One including Azarenka v Lucic-Baroni". BBC Sport. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Ackerman, McCarton. "Lucic-Baroni turns back the clock with dream run". US Open. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  14. ^ Schlecht, Neil. "No. 2 Halep shocked by former teen phenom Lucic-Baroni". US Open. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "Mirjana Lucic-Baroni wins WTA Quebec City over Venus Williams". ABC. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Russia Alisa Kleybanova
WTA Comeback Player of the Year
2014
Succeeded by
[to be determined]