Sunday, January 5, 2014

Victoria Duval defeats Mirjana Lucic to reach WTA Sydney qualifying finals

Youth trumps experience as Duval progresses

In a battle between 18-year-old Victoria Duval and 31-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, it was the young American who triumphed in a tense 6-4 7-5 battle to reach the final round of qualifying.

Duval came to the attention of Australians last year with her sensational upset of Sam Stosur on Louis Armstrong Stadium in the first round of the US Open, and said she’d taken plenty of belief from that victory.

“That match gave me a lot of confidence. Confidence isn’t something that comes easy, you have to work for it to. That definitely helped me a lot,” she revealed.

Such confidence was certainly on show as she tamed the big-hitting Lucic-Baroni, a teen prodigy in the late 1990s and who reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 1999.

“I thought I played really well today. I served really well today, that was something I had to do to give myself a chance so I am really happy,” Duval said.

Duval will next face second seed and fellow American Varvara Lepchenko, who saw off Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 6-4 6-4.

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