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Croatian qualifier upsets second seed Halep at US Open

Posted on Aug 30 2014 | IANS

New York, Aug 30 : Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni upset Romanian second seeded Simona Halep 7-6(6), 6-2 in the women's singles third round of the US Open here.

The 32-year-old had waited 15 years to reach a Grand Slam last 16 again and she burst into tears at the post-match press conference Friday, reports Xinhua.

"It's been really hard. After so many years to be here again, it's incredible. I wanted this so badly," said the veteran tennis player.

As a rising star in the late 1990s, Lucic-Baroni's career was hit by a series of injuries.

"Earlier in Doha, my back just blocked. I was in excruciating pain. I couldn't finish my match. Then in Indian Wells I got a herniated disk in my neck. That made huge problems for my shoulder. Before Wimbledon I couldn't play for a week. It's been one thing after another. Then again after Wimbledon I didn't play for three weeks."

At one stage Halep was 5-2 in the first set, taking in hand three set points in the eighth game. Lucic-Baroni managed to come back with her strong shots afterwards, bringing the match to the tie-breaker and finishing the set.

"Even the first games in the set, they were really tight and she just happened to win them all. I'm just happy I was able to do that in the first set," said Lucic-Baroni.

Halep seemed to lose her rhythm in the second set and it took Lucic-Baroni less than half an hour to beat the World No.2 6-2.

"Everything was in for her. It wasn't my best day but still I did everything I could on court. She was better than me so I have to keep working hard every day and look forward for the next one," said Halep.

It was Lucic-Baroni's second win over a top-5 player in her career. The previous one came in 1999 when she defeated Monica Seles at Wimbledon.

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