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Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 13:22 UK

Below-par Baltacha sent crashing

By Chris Bevan
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Elena Baltacha
Baltacha reached the third round at Wimbledon in 2002

Britain's Elena Baltacha failed to reach the third round at Wimbledon after a disappointing display against China's Jie Zheng on Court Two.

Baltacha lost the first four games as she took time to settle in blustery conditions and, although she improved, it came too late to save the first set.

The British number four put up more of a fight in the second set and broke to lead 5-4 before Zheng reeled her in.

Baltacha's game became more erratic and Zheng completed a 6-2 7-5 victory.

"At the beginning I couldn't quite get myself going," Baltacha said. "She started really well and was 4-0 up before I knew it.

"I started the second set well and upped my level but it was a real rollercoaster ride after that - one game I would break and take the lead but then I would make some stupid errors."

The Scot had come through a three-set battle against Germany's Angelique Kerber in the first round and it was clear from the start that she faced another stern test here.

Baltacha, who reached the third round here in 2002, began on the backfoot with Zheng dictating play from the baseline and finding some great angles to move her around the court.

A whirlwind start saw Baltacha broken twice in quick succession and only when she regained her composure and began to stretch her opponent with some powerful shots of her own did she get off the mark.

Zheng was never going to allow the first set to slip from her grasp but Baltacha started the second in confident fashion and she looked capable of turning the match around.

I had to play my best tennis to beat her, which I couldn't do, and I am very disappointed

Elena Baltacha

Sadly, although she broke Zheng to lead 3-2 and 5-4, Baltacha immediately dropped her own serve on both occasions despite having opportunities to cement her advantage.

Baltacha was clearly frustrated by the number of mistakes she was making but she again only had herself to blame as Zheng wrapped up her win.

A double fault at 30-15 allowed Zheng back into the game and Baltacha hit the top of the net with a backhand before another wild groundstroke finished off her hopes.

"I knew it was going to be a tough match," Baltacha added. "I had to play my best tennis to beat her, which I couldn't do, and I am very disappointed.

"I could not sustain the standard of play I needed to, whereas she carried on at the same level throughout the match and that was the difference.

"I became quite wild with my shots and that inconsistency is something I really have to improve upon."

see also
Safin stuns lacklustre Djokovic
25 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Serena through to face Mauresmo
25 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Wimbledon photos
25 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Briton Eaton continues progress
24 Jun 08 |  Tennis
GB women battle for top spot
18 Jun 08 |  Tennis

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