Lucic-Baroni back in Strasbourg tennis final after 19 years

Strasbourg (France) (AFP) –


Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic-Baroni returned to the Strasbourg WTA claycourt final on Friday 19 years after her last run to the championship match when she lost to Steffi Graf.

Lucic-Baroni defeated French fourth seed Kristina Mladenovic, 6-1, 6-1, in exactly an hour to book a final spot against 10th seeded Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia

"Nineteen years in between the finals. It's amazing. It's like coming home now for me in Strasbourg," said Lucic-Baroni as she reflected on her 1997 campaign.

"Will I become French after this? No! If I would change it would to Italian. My husband is Italian."

Garcia has won all three of her previous meetings with Lucic-Baroni, including earlier this year in Miami.

"Against Garcia, I've always posted negative results," she added. "But hopefully that will change tomorrow!. I'm playing some great tennis and haven't been on court very long, despite coming through qualies.

"I've just got to keep this going, keep on playing strong, no hitting and hopefully I can get the title."

Garcia made the final by seeing off compatriot Virginie Razzano 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 7-5.