Revitalised Mirjana Lucic-Baroni ends 16-year wait for another trophy by beating Venus Williams

Croat took the title at the Tournoi de Québec

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni followed up her best Grand Slam performance for 15 years by beating Venus Williams in the final in Quebec to claim her first title on the Women’s Tennis Association tour since 1998. No player in WTA history has experienced a longer gap between tournament wins.

Lucic-Baroni, who beat the world No 2 Simona Halep at the US Open this month before going out in the fourth round, beat Williams 6-4, 6-3. The  32-year-old last won a WTA title at Bol, in her home country of Croatia, in 1998.

“It was so long ago, I don’t even remember what it’s like to hold a trophy in my hands,” Lucic-Baroni said after winning only the third title of her career. “It’s just incredible. I’m still in a little bit of shock.”

Lucic-Baroni, who also won the Quebec doubles title alongside the Czech Republic’s Lucie Hradecka, was ranked No 121 in the world less than a month ago. In today's updated ranking list she climbed to No 56, which is her highest position since the summer of 2000.

A Wimbledon semi-finalist in 1999, Lucic-Baroni all but disappeared off the sport’s radar after fleeing to the United States to escape her abusive father. She did not play in Grand Slam tournaments for more than seven years before returning in 2010.

“I’m finally playing the great tennis I always knew I could play, but it had been so long that I kind of lost a little bit of the belief in myself,” Lucic-Baroni said.