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Last Updated: Friday, 21 January, 2005, 04:21 GMT
Baltacha 'excited' about future
Elena Baltacha
Knowing how much more I've got within me - that's exciting
Britain's Elena Baltacha said she was looking forward to a bright future, despite a 6-1 6-0 defeat to Silvia Farina Elia at the Australian Open.

The 21-year-old reached the third round in Melbourne having come through three rounds of qualifying.

"I've had a superb week. I've had great fun and I'm going to go home with my head held high," she said.

"I know I've got a lot of weaknesses and it will be really exciting going home and working hard on those areas."

Since bursting onto the scene at Wimbledon in 2002 when she reached the third round, Baltacha spent two years battling to overcome a liver condition.

Last season, she succeeded in lifting her ranking from 373 to inside the top 200 - but she insists there is much more to come.

"I am really sick of where I am at the moment," she said.

BALTACHA PROFILE
Age: 21
Born: Kiev, Ukraine
Coach: Alan Jones, Jo Durie
Career win-loss: 96-82
Career prize money: 78,600
Highest ranking: 149

"I know I'm a much better player. Even if I would have lost first-round qualifying, I know I'm a much better player.

"I've realised what I'm capable of.

"I've dug deep this week, and I've had good results knowing that I've still got weaknesses.

"I have got a lot of weaknesses still, and knowing that if I can get better at them, how much more I've got within me, that's exciting."

Baltacha is expected to reach a career-high ranking of around 125 when the new listings are released after the Australian Open.

That will mean she is eligible to enter better quality tournaments and Baltacha said she would rethink her plans for the rest of the season.

"When I get home, I'm not sure whether I'm going to play (tournaments in) Sunderland or Redbridge," she said.

"Then I was thinking of playing some challengers in America but Alan (Jones, her coach) said, 'Let's not rush ahead. Let's enter some WTA tournaments.'

"I really don't know what I'm doing at the moment."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Highlights: Australian Open tennis day five


Interview: Elena Baltacha




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