Lucic-Baroni Fights Off Kontaveit To Reach Second Round in New Haven
(August 20, 2017) NEW HAVEN, Connecticut – Eighteen years after reaching her maiden Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni is enjoying a career renaissance in 2017.
Her fairytale run to the last four at this year’s Australian Open set her up for impressive semi-final showings in Charleston and Acapulco.
At 35, she cracked the top 20 for the first time in May. But it has not all been smooth sailing since.
A debilitating shoulder injury has plagued the Croatian in recent months so after a gutsy 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3 victory over world No.28 Anett Kontaveit in the opening round of the Connecticut Open on Sunday, Lucic-Baroni was understandably relieved.
“Really tough match, really tough first round,” Lucic-Baroni said. “I think she’s playing the best she’s played.
“It was a bit up and down, I was getting a bit frustrated with myself not being able to keep the one level the whole time but she picked up and played better so I was really happy overall that I was able to lift the level at the end to get the win.”
“It hasn’t been a secret that I’ve been struggling with my shoulder a lot and haven’t been able to play.
“I know I’m playing good, I know I’m fit, I’m strong but it’s difficult when your body’s not letting you do what you want to do.
“Lucky I’m tough, I’m strong, I’m stubborn. It’s been a couple of months but I got my win and now it’s like I can relax, it’s good.”
French former world No.11 Alize Cornet followed Lucic-Baroni into the second round in New Haven with a lop-sided 6-0, 6-0 victory over Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva. Cornet broke six times in the one-hour affair.
It’s Opening Night Ceremony presented by Yale University on Day 2 at the Connecticut Open.
To help celebrate 20 years of women’s tennis in New Haven, Martina Navratilova will play two sets of mixed doubles – one against fellow Hall of Famer and Grand Slam great Mats Wilander and another that includes Yale University tennis players Samantha Martinelli, Jeff Dawson and Marc Powers.
Monday night also marks three-time champion Petra Kvitova’s and former world No.7 Eugenie Bouchard’s returns.
Here are three key matches to catch:
 Petra Kvitova v Shuai Zhang
Czech Petra Kvitova launches her bid for a fourth Connecticut Open title on Monday night against China’s Shuai Zhang. The two-time Wimbledon champion won her 20th career title this season in Birmingham in just her second tournament back following an attack at her home in December. Zhang produced a remarkable run at the 2016 Australian Open. Facing her 15th first-round Grand Slam exit, she stunned world No.2 Simona Halep en route to becoming the first qualifier since 1990 to reach the quarter-finals. Kvitoa leads their head-to-head 2-1.
Eugenie Bouchard v Lauren Davis
Canadian wild card Eugenie Bouchard returns to New Haven for the fourth time keen to rediscover the form, which took her as high as No.7 in the rankings in 2014. In that breakthrough season Bouchard reached the Wimbledon final and semi-finals at the Australian Open and French Open. Now ranked at No.70, Bouchard opens her campaign against Lauren Davis, the sole American in the main draw. The winner will face top seed and defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska. Davis started the season winning her first tour title in Auckland and cracked the top 30 in May. The pair split their two prior encounters.
Mladenovic feels rested and fresh after her break, & sees #CTOpenTennis as perfect final prep for US Open pic.twitter.com/9zLdeDlOgn
— Tennis Panorama News (@TennisNewsTPN) August 20, 2017
 Kristina Mladenovic v Timea Babos
The No.4 seed, Mladenovic, opens against former doubles partner, Hungarian Timea Babos. The Frenchwoman has reached four finals in 2017, winning her maiden title in St Petersburg and defeating Maria Sharapova en route to the Stuttgart final. The 14th-ranked Mladenovic has won three of their fives meetings but it was Babos who got the upper hand in their most recent clash in Moscow last season. Babos swept to the Budapest title on home soil earlier in the season.
RESULTS – AUGUST 20, 2017
Singles – First Round
M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) d A. Kontaveit (EST) 64 67(3) 63
A. Cornet (FRA) d Y. Putintseva (KAZ) 60 60
Doubles – First Round
K. Bertens (NED) / J. Larsson (SWE) d  A. Groenefeld (GER) / K. Peschke (CZE) 33 Retired
R. Olaru (ROU) / O. Savchuk (UKR) d L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) 61 64
Qualifying Singles – Third Round
Qualifying – K. Flipkens (BEL) d  M. Rybarikova (SVK) 63 64
Qualifying –  K. Pliskova (CZE) d C. Witthoeft (GER) 62 46 63
Qualifying –  E. Mertens (BEL) d  N. Vikhlyantseva (RUS) 64 64
Qualifying – J. Cepelova (SVK) d  C. Mchale (USA) 63 64
Qualifying – M. Linette (POL) d K. Nara (JPN) 62 62
Qualifying – A. Bogdan (ROU) d K. Bondarenko (UKR) 62 62
ORDER OF PLAY – MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2017
STADIUM start 10:00 am
[Q] A. Bogdan (ROU) vs  E. Vesnina (RUS)
Not Before 12:00 noon
 K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs T. Babos (HUN)
L. Davis (USA) vs [WC] E. Bouchard (CAN)
 A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs [LL] C. Mchale (USA)
20th Anniversary Celebration OPENING CEREMONY
Not Before 7:00 pm
S. Zhang (CHN) vs  P. Kvitova (CZE)
M. NAVRATILOVA/C. LICKLE M.WILANDER/TBA
M. NAVRATILOVA/J. DAWSON S. MARTINELLI/M. POWERS
SPORTMASTER GRANDSTAND start 10:00 am
K. Siniakova (CZE) vs  S. Peng (CHN)
D. Gavrilova (AUS) vs [Q] K. Pliskova (CZE)
L. Tsurenko (UKR) vs [Q] K. Flipkens (BEL)
 B. Strycova (CZE) vs D. Kasatkina (RUS)
K. Bertens (NED) vs [Q] E. Mertens (BEL)
[Q] M. Linette (POL) vs R. Vinci (ITA)
COURT 1 start 12:00 noon
S. Aoyama (JPN) / D. Jurak (CRO) vs N. Hibino (JPN) / A. Rosolska (POL)
 G. Dabrowski (CAN) / Y. Xu (CHN) vs A. Klepac (SLO) / M. Martínez Sánchez (ESP)