The day of shocks at the Australian Open continued as third seeded Agnieszka Radwanska suffered straight sets defeat at the hands of world number 79 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
The upset bug started with Novak Djokovic’s shock defeat to Denis Istomin earlier in the day and continued with Lucic-Baroni’s excellent display against Radwanska. The third seed and former Wimbledon finalist was over-powered by the Croatian who managed to earn a 6-3, 6-2 win and advance to the third round of the tournament where she will face Alize Cornet or Maria Sakkari.
The 34-year-old had never made it past the second round in Melbourne before today, and she came out with the intention of breaking that duck. When on form, Lucic-Baroni is a highly dangerous player and Radwanska found that out early when the Croatian earned a break in the opening game. The Pole managed to break back immediately but once again lost her serve in the third game of the match. The third seed failed to muster any break point chances for the rest of the set, and in a long final game Lucic-Baroni was able to break for the third time to seal the set 6-3.
It looked like Radwanska was on the comeback trail when she broke in the opening game of set two, but the Croatian broke back in the fourth game to level the score. Radwanska missed a break point opportunity in the following game, and that turned out to be a crucial. The following game saw Lucic-Baroni break to love and it soon dawned that another upset was on its way. After a quick service game, the world number 79 applied the pressure. She earned two match points on the Radwanska serve, and after missing the first she was able to take the second with a backhand winner and with it the match.
This is Lucic-Baroni’s biggest win since upsetting a third seeded Simona Halep at the French Open in 2015, another decisive victory. The result opens the section up to a surprise quarter finalist, and on this form that could very well be the Croatian.
As for Radwanska, her long search for that maiden grand slam title that has long alluded her continues. She was well beaten today by a very dangerous player, but she will like her chances of coming back strong and trying again in Paris then at Wimbledon.