SARASOTA, FL, USA - After breaking through as a teen phenom in the '90s, she spent a number of years in the tennis wildnerness, sidelined for the better part of a decade due to personal struggles and injuries. But a few years ago she began showing those flashes of hard-hitting brilliance again, and after a dream summer this year Mirjana Lucic-Baroni has been voted WTA Comeback Player Of The Year.
Things didn't look so peachy going into the US Open, though. Lucic-Baroni was on an eight-match losing streak and had fallen down to No.121, well below her 2013 year-end ranking of No.104.
But with her unique brand of raw power, Lucic-Baroni - who was the biggest hitter out there when she was a teenager, and is still right up there - was bound to catch fire again at some point, and that point turned out to be the US Open, where she clawed her way out of qualifying and eventually made it all the way to the fourth round of the main draw, stunning then-World No.2 Simona Halep en route.
The win over Halep wasn't just the biggest win of Lucic-Baroni's career, but it was also one of her most emotional wins - she broke down in tears of joy during her post-match press conference.
But that wasn't all - after Sara Errani finally put a stop to that winning streak, Lucic-Baroni made her way up to Québec City for the Coupe Banque Nationale and went all the way to the title, outdoing Venus Williams in a tight two-setter in the final to take home the third WTA title of her career.
It had been 16 years and four months since Lucic-Baroni had lifted her last WTA title at Bol in 1998, the longest gap between titles in the history of the WTA. She went home with the doubles title too.
"It's not bad!" Lucic-Baroni said that day when told about her new record. "It was so long ago, I don't even remember what it's like to hold a trophy in my hands. It's just incredible. I'm still in a little bit of shock because I was so focused today, but oh my goodness, it's just an amazing feeling."
Lucic-Baroni would finish the year at No.61 in the world, her highest year-end finish since 1999, and the Croat has now been voted by media and fans to be WTA Comeback Player Of The Year.
"I am so honored and humbled to win the WTA Comeback Player Of The Year award," she said.
"I want to thank every single person who voted for me and supported me all these years. I also want to thank everyone for recognizing the passion, perseverance and love I have for this sport.
"I look towards 2015 with excitement and hope for many more great results. Thank you again!"