Tags: mirjana lucic-baroni | semifinal | tennis

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni Semifinal: Tennis Pro Cements 17-Year Comeback

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Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia celebrates winning her quarterfinal match against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic on day 10 of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Jan. 25, 2017, in Melbourne, Australia. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 25 Jan 2017 05:38 PM

After a promising start to her career at age 17, it took Mirjana Lucic-Baroni another 17 years to make it to the semifinals of a major tennis tournament again.

The Croatian-born prodigy, now 34, was ranked 79th at the beginning of the Australian Open, but she narrowly beat the 5th seed Karolina Pliskova on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals against 35-year-old Serena Williams.

After being compared to greats of tennis back in 1998, including Steffi Graf, and making it to the semifinal round of Wimbeldon that year, Lucic-Baroni fled to America claiming that her father abused her, CNN reported. She stopped playing tennis due to financial woes and had to endure lawsuits from her then-management company IMG, whom she then countersued.

After all this time, not many thought she could come back to compete at such an elite level. Playing with an injured leg, she fought hard and narrowly defeated Pliskova after several medical time-outs on both sides.

Lucic-Baroni fell to the ground and wept for joy after defeating Pliskova.

“I know this means a lot to every player to reach the semifinals, but to me, this is just overwhelming,” she said after the match, The Associated Press reported. “This has truly made my life. And everything bad that happened, it has made it OK.”

Williams called Lucic-Baroni's performance inspiring and said she was “so proud” of her. “No matter what happens, someone 34 or older will be in the final and that’s just really awesome,” she said, the AP reported.

Venus Williams, 36, also reached the semifinals and will play 25-year-old CoCo Vandeweghe.

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After a promising start to her career at age 17, it took Mirjana Lucic-Baroni another 17 years to make it to the semifinals of a major tennis tournament again.
mirjana lucic-baroni, semifinal, tennis
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Wednesday, 25 Jan 2017 05:38 PM
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