The Asian Age

CA­REER RE­VIVAL

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New York, Sept. 1: Never mind the blis­ters and sore mus­cles and the reams of physio’s tape, Mir­jana Lu­ci­cBa­roni found her fourth- round US Open run more ex­cit­ing than any of her prior pre­co­cious ex­ploits.

The 32- year- old Croa­t­ian pow­ered through qual­i­fy­ing then up­set world num­ber two Si­mona Halep en route to the last 16, where she fell to Ital­ian Sara Er­rani. It seems a small achieve­ment, com­pared to win­ning a ti­tle in her first pro event at the age of 15, or team­ing with Martina Hingis at the same age to win the 1998 Aus­tralian Open women’s dou­bles.

In 1999, at 17, she went to the Wim­ble­don semi­fi­nals where it took St­effi Graf to beat her.

“I was used to com­ing from ju­niors and win­ning, so it re­ally wasn’t a big deal,” she said. “It was sort of a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion as far as I was con­cerned.

“But now I am su­perex­cited. Now it feels sort of like the first Lu­ci­cBa­roni’s bur­geon­ing ca­reer was side­tracked by the trauma of a phys­i­cally abu­sive fa­ther, fi­nan­cial con­straints and in­jury.

She wouldn’t call her six straight vic­to­ries at Flush­ing Mead­ows — in qual­i­fiers and main draw matches — a new start to her ca­reer, since she’s been toil­ing since 2007 to reestab­lish her­self on tour. But it’s cer­tainly a marker of how far she’s come, even if at 32 it comes with a phys­i­cal price.

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