Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Lucic sets up fromer prodigies match up with Dokic in Strasbourg.
After a superb junior career that included Grand Slam titles, Mirjana Lucic was 15 when she won the first WTA event she played at Bol in 1997, becoming the fifth-youngest titlist in WTA history. In her next event, she was runner-up at Strasbourg. She defended her Bol title in 1998, the same year she rose to her career-high ranking of No.32. She was a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 1999, upsetting Monica Seles along the way. However, since then she has failed to reach the quarterfinals of a tournament, and did not even play in a WTA event from 2004 through 2006. She showed signs of a turnaround in 2010, though, finishing the year ranked No.105, her highest season-ending ranking since 1999.
Now, after winning three qualifying matches and then beating Christina McHale, 7-5 7-6(7), on Tuesday in Strasbourg, Lucic is into the second round of an event for the second time this year, having also gotten that far in Barcelona. It was her first win in three career meetings with McHale and she had to work for it, as she had a set point against her at 7-6 in the second set tie-break. Standing in her way of her first quarterfinal in almost 12 years is Jelena Dokic, the 2000 Wimbledon semifinalist who got as high as No.4 in the world and who won her first title in almost nine years at Kuala Lumpur in April.
As for the seeds, all of them other than No.3 seed Ana Ivanovic - who withdrew - are into the second round without having dropped a set. No.1 seed Marion Bartoli routed Kimiko Date-Krumm, 6-2 6-1, and No.2 seed Andrea Petkovic and No.3 seed Lucie Hradecka both beat qualifiers. Hradecka is enjoying a fine clay court season, having been runner-up in Barcelona and having won an ITF Women's Circuit event in Prague earlier this month.
In addition to Dokic against Lucic, Wednesday's schedule includes fourth-seeded Nadia Petrova versus Alizé Cornet.
EDIT - I would like to apologize, I formally said Lucic played Dokic in the 1999 Wimbledon QF, Dokic played fellow qualifier Alexandra Stevenson (losing 3-6 6-1 3-6) Lucic did make the SF that year where she lost to Setffi Graf 7-6 4-6 3-6, however she defeated 8th seeded Nathalie Tauziat not Dokic.