Baltacha eases through

British number three sets up Mauresmo clash

Last Updated: 20/01/09 10:19pm

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Baltacha: Straight sets win

Baltacha: Straight sets win

Sky Bet

Elena Baltacha guaranteed a British presence in the second round of the women's singles at the Australian Open after defeating German Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-1 6-4.

Having seen Anne Keothavong, Melanie South and Katie O'Brien bow out, the British number three came out of the blocks firing.

In sweltering conditions at Melbourne Park, Baltacha raced to a 3-0 lead in the opening set as she broke Groenefeld then held off three break points herself to gain the upper hand.

The German, ranked 71 in the world, 63 places above Baltacha, looked anything but and after holding her serve to love in the fifth game Baltacha broke Groenefeld again before serving out the set.

The roles were reversed in the second set however, with the German getting an early jump on the British 25-year-old, who reached the third round in Melbourne in 2005.

Breakthrough

But having fallen behind 3-0, Baltacha dug deep to hold two services games before converting another break point on the German's serve to trail 4-3 with her own serve to come.

She held that comfortably then got her deserved breakthrough to lead 5-4 and although the Groenefeld managed to save two match points in the final game it was not enough to deny the Brit.

Baltacha will now face 2006 champion Amelie Mauresmo after she overcame Olga Govortsova 6-4 6-3.

And Baltacha is relishing the chance to take on the former world No.1.

"I'm very excited (to be playing Mauresmo)," she said.

"It's a great opportunity for me. Qualifiers are a nightmare to play really because they've had three matches and they can be very dangerous.

"I'm just really chuffed. I've played four great matches. Physically I feel great, emotionally, mentally I feel great. I'm really looking forward to the match on Thursday."

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