NEW YORK, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The 32-year-old Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni upset second-seeded Simona Halep of Romania 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 in a third-round meeting here on Friday.
The veteran had waited 15 years to reach a Grand Slam last 16 again, and she burst into tears in the post-match news conference after all these came true.
"It's been really hard," said Lucic-Baroni. "After so many years to be here again, it's incredible. I wanted this so bad."
As a rising star in the late 1990's, Lucic-Baroni's career was badly influence by 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 herniate dick 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, and then again after Wimbledon I didn't play for three weeks."
Halep was once 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 tiebreaker and finished the set 7-6 (8-6).
"Even the first games in the set, they were really tight, and she just happened to win them all," said Lucic-Baroni about the match.
"I'm just happy I was able to do that in the first set."
Halep seemed to lose her rhythm in the second set, and it only cost Lucic-Baroni less than half an hour to beat the World number two 6-2.
"Everything was in for her," said Halep. "It wasn't my best day, but still I did everything I could on court. She was better than me today, so I have to keep working every day hard and to look forward for the next one."
It was Lucic-Baroni's second win over the world top five in her career. The previous one dated back to 1999, when she defeated Monica Seles at Wimbledon.