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The Draw: 30 June

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Wednesday, 25 January 2017 10:50 AM GMT
Lucic-Baroni writing Australian fairy tale
In a tournament of comebacks, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni's is proving to be the most heartwarming... READ MORE

When the story of Mirjana Lucic-Baroni’s roller-coaster life is eventually made into a film, as surely it will be, the Croatian knows who should be cast in the starring role.

“Somebody who has a nice, large nose, probably,” the 34-year-old said, with a laugh.

An incredible 18 years after she first reached a Grand Slam semi-final – at Wimbledon – Lucic-Baroni upset fifth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to reach the last four in Melbourne. 

But Lucic-Baroni’s battles have hit an emotional chord in Melbourne and after so long out of the limelight, she is relishing being back in it.

“I felt like these results were missing, for sure,” she said. “This is what I've been dreaming about, this is what I've been training for. At 34 years old, I have a wonderful home. I'm happily married.

"I would be perfectly OK being at home enjoying my family. But I really knew deep down in my soul that I have these results in me. To now be here and actually live these moments, it's incredible.”

Her semi-final opponent will be Serena Williams, the six-time champion, who beat Johanna Konta 6-2, 6-3. Williams, who played Lucic-Baroni twice in 1998, said her performance and perseverance was an inspiration to everyone.

“I'm really happy for Mirjana,” she said. “I was there when she first started. To see her be able to never give up actually is super inspiring to me. It's a wonderful story.”

If she somehow manages to beat Williams in the semi-finals on Thursday, it would be the biggest story of the lot.

“She's a great champion,” Lucic-Baroni said. “I'm not bad myself. I think it will be a good match. I will work hard, I will fight hard and we'll see. Hopefully it will be fun.”

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