MELBOURNE — Bernarda Pera was ready to book her flight home after losing in the final round of qualifying at the Australian Open. Instead, she finds herself in the third round after sneaking into the draw as a lucky loser.


On Thursday, she stunned No. 9-seeded Johanna Konta, 6-4, 7-5. Little is known about the big-hitting American, so let's find out a little more.


She's actually Croatian.

The 23-year-old was born in Zadar, a coastal city in Croatia (the same nation that Marin Cilic, Ivo Karlovic and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni is from). At 16, she moved to New Jersey, and plays for the United States because her father is a citizen.


Her coach is a big part of her success.

Early in 2017, Para returned to working with her childhood coach, Lovro Roncevic. She's training in Zadar again, but still has family and friends in New Jersey (where she trained at CourtSense and with the USTA).


This is her Grand Slam debut.

Para had only played in qualifying of a Slam before winning her first main-draw match over 19-year-old Anna Blinkova, 6-2, 6-3. She had lost to Viktorija Golubic in the final round of qualifying.

"Monday I was ready to leave," Pera said. "I was checking the ticket to fly back. I'm happy I didn't buy it."

Para had no expectations going into her match against Konta on Thursday.

"My goal was to just stay aggressive and play my game, stay close to the baseline," Pera said. "I didn’t put much pressure on myself so I think that helped. I was able to stay calm."


She's doubling her prize money.

Up until this point in her career, Para had earned $158,061. She has eight ITF Pro Circuit titles to her name, most recently an $80,000 in the Czech Republic last year.

Her third-round paycheck in Melbourne is $142,500 and she could keep going. She'll play Barbora Strycova next.


Chicken is her Achilles heel.

No chicken, veggies and rice for this budding star. The talented lefty is gravely allergic to chicken.