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ON-FIRE LUCIC-BARONI STUNS HALEP

2015-5-28


PARIS, France - At the US Open last year, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni pulled off one of the biggest and most sentimental surprises of the tournament, taking out one of the favorites, Simona Halep - and history just repeated itself on Wednesday as the Croatian sensation took Halep out of the French Open, too.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Paris right here on wtatennis.com!

The first set could have gone either way. Lucic-Baroni kept creeping ahead, but Halep kept catching up - 3-1 to 3-all, 5-3 to 5-all. But that's when Lucic-Baroni took her huge serve and groundstrokes to a whole new level, ripping winner after winner to reel off seven games in a row and build a 7-5, 5-0 lead.

The No.3-seeded Halep didn't stop fighting, finally getting on the board in the next game, but it was too little, too late, as Lucic-Baroni served it out, blasting a huge ace out wide to seal it, 7-5, 6-1.

It was her 29th winner of the match - almost six times as many as a shellshocked Halep's five.

"It's incredible," Lucic-Baroni said in her on-court interview after the match. "Simona is such a great champion, and I respect her so much, and to play this well on such a big stadium makes me so happy.

"She's such a great champion so I knew if I wanted to win I had to go for my shots, and that's my game anyway, so I just tried to keep going for it and tried to keep my unforced errors down, as well.

"I'm so proud of myself - it's such a huge win for me, it's just amazing!"

Lucic-Baroni's win over the No.3-ranked Halep is the second-best win of her career in terms of ranking after her aforementioned win over Halep at last year's US Open (Halep was ranked No.2 at the time).

"She played well," Halep said. "I couldn't play my best today, but she started to hit the ball very strong at the beginning of the match, and she was better than me today. I just have to go forward."

The Croat is now through to the third round of the French Open for the second time in her career. She made it this far back in 2001 before falling to Jennifer Capriati, who famously went on to win the title.

Up next is the No.29 seed, Alizé Cornet, who held off crafty Romanian Alexandra Dulgheru, 6-2, 7-5.

Lucic-Baroni was asked about playing the French No.1 in her on-court interview, too.

"I hope at least three people will cheer for me in that match!" she joked.

 



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