Mirjana is playing with a lot more purpose this year, and it's very exciting for her fans.
Unfortunately, circumstances have conspired to suppress her singles ranking: tough draws (Safarova at AO, Venus in Florianapolis), heartbreaking losses (76 to Cepelova in the third in Sydney, then 75 in the third in Memphis again to Cepelova
), her biggest successes coming in doubles (R16 at AO, title in Midland) or too recent to be reflected in the rankings (ie, this week at IW).
It's depressing to think that her singles ranking has essentially been frozen since right after the US Open...in 2010. Worse, it's about 20 spots lower than in early July 2011 (soon to be two years ago), when she broke into the mid-80s.
I'm hopeful that we're seeing Mirjana come unstuck and that she'll write a new chapter in her tennis life this year.
You're quite correct about the frustration of the "frozen ranking". Some would even call it a "rut" or a "brick wall" or a "plateau" (this last being perhaps the most diplomatic assessment).
Even so, despite some clear cases of poor luck with draws, Mirjana has not risen from this "plateau" heretofore because her overall results have been so spotty. She has not managed to make a consistent impact with performances during any calendar year. Consequently, this is why she has always just missed finishing a season in the Top 100.
Now, we see things taking a clear change. Her game has ticked up a notch this new season and she is doing something she has not yet done, i.e. perform well at WTA-level events in Winter/Spring. The QF run in Midland was one telling indication, though she should have reached the final. This refreshing effort at Indian Wells is another indicator of the surge in quality. Normally she is bounced out of every WTA encounter at this time of the year.
The doubles success is important, too. Not only because of the money it provides, but because it is indicative of the fact that she has really tightened-up her game, and because these doubles wins and her presence out there with players like Jankovic send a message to the others: "Lucic is in the mix. She's a dangerous player who is to be noticed." These are factors that help her cause in general.
She appears to have sunk her teeth into a reliable game-plan out there. As someone else pointed out, she is not floundering in sets, not getting bageled. She's always doing some damage.
No matter what, this level of performance so early in the season is a marked change. If it continues ....
As for Wickmayer, a victory certainly can be achieved, but Mirjana will need to serve a few more aces and keep that 1st serve % high, as well as just play the game she's been playing. I expect a fight from her.
GL to Mirjana. She's overdue for a Top 50 win, too.