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Last Updated: Monday, 17 January, 2005, 02:45 GMT
Baltacha battles into round two
Elena Baltacha
Britain's Elena Baltacha broke new ground with victory over Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik at the Australian Open on Monday.

Baltacha reached the second round of a Grand Slam outside Wimbledon for the first time with a hard-fought 5-7 6-4 6-4 win against the world number 66.

The Briton, ranked 185, broke serve first in the opening two sets but had to battle through a tense decider.

Baltacha next faces France's Stephanie Cohen-Aloro, who beat Mary Pierce.

The 21-year-old Baltacha, who came through three rounds of qualifying, held her nerve in a dramatic final set.

There were so many of them and they kept lifting me
Baltacha on the British fans
Baltacha was twice a break ahead before being pegged back each time but edged ahead again at 4-3 and served out for the match after two-and-a-half hours.

"It was such a tough match, I'm really chuffed to have done it on hard rather than on grass at Wimbledon," she told BBC Five Live.

"There were a couple of sloppy games from both of us but she raised her standard and I had to raise mine.

"I haven't been serving great but in the qualifying it didn't matter so much, but I was returning well."

And despite being out on Court 10, Baltacha was cheered on by a vociferous British contingent.

"It was so nice, there were so many of them and they kept lifting me. The atmosphere was unbelieveable."

And Baltacha insisted she has "nothing to lose" in the second round bearing in mind the health problems she has had in recent years, in particular with a liver disorder.

"I'm really glad I've had the chance to come back from illness," she said.

"It was difficult but I've had unbelieveable people around me."

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