5 unknown facts about giant killer Mirjana Lucic-Baroni
Here are five lesser known facts about this year's Australian Open semi-finalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
This year’s Australian Open has seen a number of upsets so far with both World No.1s Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber biting the dust in the fourth and reigning Men’s champion Novak Djokovic enduring his worst ever Grand Slam performances since the 2008 Wimbledon as he was knocked out in the second round by World No. 117 Denis Istomin.
Throughout the tournament, there have been quite a few unseeded players who have produced numerous upsets but one player who has been an absolute standout amongst themselves has been 35-year old Croat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni who was ranked 79th in the world prior to the tournament and had last won a match at the Australian Open in 1998.
She produced one of the upsets of the tournament by defeating World No.3 Aga Radwanska in the second round in straight sets which was followed by wins over Maria Sakkari and Jennifer Brady to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final in nearly 18 years. In the quarter-finals, she scripted another major upset by stunning US Open runner-up and 5th seed Karolina Pliskova to reach the semi-finals where she will face World No.2 Serena Williams.
By the way, when did she reach her first Grand Slam semi-final? You probably do not know. There are plenty of other facts you do not know about Lucic-Baroni and this piece has been written to elucidate five such facts.
#5. Lucic-Baroni has won three junior Grand Slam titles
In her junior career, Lucic-Baroni had won a total of three Grand Slam titles. The first of these titles came at the 1996 US Open where she defeated Germany’s Marlene Weingartner 6-2, 6-1 in the Girls’ Singles final.
She won her second and third junior Grand Slam titles at the 1997 Australian Open. She won the Girls’ Singles title by defeating Marlene Weingartner in the final once again; this time by the scoreline 6-2, 6-2. While she beat a German to clinch her first two junior Grand Slams, it took a German to help her win her third as she partnered Jasmin Wohr in the Girls’ Doubles and defeated the Asian pair of Cho Yoon-jeong of South Korea and Shiho Hisamatsu of Japan.
As a result of her Australian open success, she became only the third player in the Open Era to win two or more junior Grand Slam titles before the age of 15.