Baltacha wins though to reach round two
TENNIS: RISING star Elena Baltacha battled through the first round of the LTA Ladies $25,000 tournament at Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Club yesterday despite abnormally high winds and the rain-soaked court turning the game into something of a lottery.
RISING star Elena Baltacha battled through the first round of the LTA Ladies $25,000 tournament at Felixstowe Lawn Tennis Club yesterday despite abnormally high winds and the rain-soaked court turning the game into something of a lottery.
Baltacha, seeded sixth in the competition, was up against wild card entrant Julia Smith and despite achieving victory in two sets, the Scot, now ranked 244th in the world, was never at her best.
The weather conditions meant her powerful serve was constantly hampered and after winning the first set 6-3, she found herself 4-0 down in the second.
However, it was then that this feisty right-hander showed exactly why she is tipped for great things, as she pulled back two breaks to take the score to 4-4, much to Smith's frustration.
Baltacha was covering the court well and showing moments of inspiration as she took control of the game, with her opponent becoming increasingly angry at several line decisions that went against her.
This frustration finally took its toll when Surrey junior Smith stabbed a double fault into the net at break point, and it was just left for Baltacha to hold her service game to take the second set 7-5, which she did in convincing style to go through to the next round.
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Melissa Berry, an 18-year-old right-hander who lives a stone's throw from the courts in Felixstowe, was a set up against Jane O'Donoghue going into the evening, until heavy rain put paid to any further play.
Meanwhile, third seed Julie Pullin survived a tough battle with Leanne Baker, only getting through after a final set tie-break, while second seed Lucie Ahl disposed of South African Mareze Joubert rather more easily, in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.
Marion Bartoli of France, still only 16, overcame fourth seed Hannah Collin 6-1, 6-2, while top seed Annabel Ellwood of Australia comfortably defeated Trudi Musgrave 6-4 6-4. Defending champion Roberta Vinci knocked out Basildon's Helen Crook, losing just four games in the process.