Australian Open: Fairytale story continues as Lucic-Baroni stuns Pliskova to reach semis

Not even fifth seed Karolina Pliskova could stop the fairytale that is Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who defied the odds to win through to the Australian Open semifinals.

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Veteran tennis player Mirjana Lucic-Baroni advanced to her first major semifinal in 18 years.

Not even fifth seed Karolina Pliskova could stop the fairytale that is Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who defied the odds to win through to the Australian Open semifinals.

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A career undone by problems on and off the court, veteran Lucic-Baroni continued her stunning renaissance at Melbourne Park with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph on Wednesday.

Playing in her first grand slam quarterfinal since 1999, the 34-year-old Croatian finished strongly, returning from a medical timeout to win the final three games with only one point dropped as the comeback queen advanced to her first major semifinal in 18 years.





Despite an early opening, which saw her earn a break point following a double fault and a forehand into the net, Lucic-Baroni was no match for Pliskova's height and power at the start of the match on Rod Laver Arena.

But just as Pliskova — many people's favourite to win the tournament — threatened to run away with the opening set after breaking at the second time of asking for a 3-1 lead, Lucic-Baroni found her range to stun the Czech star.

Lucic-Baroni halted her opponent in the sixth game and she did so again in the 10th as the veteran closed out the set on Pliskova's serve.

Up a set, Lucic-Baroni continued where she left off in the second with a break at 15 after holding in the opening game.

But a wayward cross-court backhand handed the break back to Pliskova and the topsy-turvy set continued with five breaks of serve in seven games.

Lucic-Baroni cracked first, broken to love as Pliskova forced a third and deciding set.

Pliskova won the final three games of the second set to gain all of the momentum but Lucic-Baroni continued to play her shots and she drew first blood in the opening game of the final set on her opponent's serve.

However, back-to-back double faults and a long forehand saw Lucic-Baroni broken back immediately, only for her to regain the break in stunning fashion with some monster returns.

Despite initially bucking the trend to hold serve, Lucic-Baroni was pegged back by Pliskova, who powered her way into a 4-3 lead.

But a medical timeout from Lucic-Baroni swung the momentum back in her favour as she blitzed Pliskova to love in consecutive games before sealing a spot in the final four when the latter missed a return. 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Pliskova [5] Lucic-Baroni 6-4 3-6 4-6

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 
Pliskova – 23/21
Lucic-Baroni – 42/35

ACES 
Pliskova – 8
Lucic-Baroni – 9

BREAK POINTS WON  
Pliskova – 7/13
Lucic-Baroni – 7/11

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE  
Pliskova – 58
Lucic-Baroni – 56

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE 
Pliskova – 55/37
Lucic-Baroni – 70/33

TOTAL POINTS  
Pliskova – 78
Lucic-Baroni – 88