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Page last updated at 05:03 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Baltacha powers past Groenefeld

Venue: Melbourne Park Date: 19 January-1 February
Coverage: BBC Red Button, BBC One & Two (including all Andy Murray matches), Radio 5 Live sports extra, BBC Sport website (Red Button coverage streamed on website throughout fortnight)


Baltacha ready to face Mauresmo

Elena Baltacha gave British tennis a boost with a 6-1 6-4 win over Germany's Anna-Lena Groenefeld in the first round of the Australian Open.

The 25-year-old Scot is the only one of four British women in the main draw to reach round two, where she will play 2006 champion Amelie Mauresmo.

Fellow Britons Anne Keothavong, Melanie South and Katie O'Brien all went out in the first round on Monday.

"It gave me more motivation actually to keep the flag flying," said Baltacha.

"It's a shame. All the girls fought really hard and they performed well and there's a lot of positives to take from that."

Physically I feel great, emotionally, mentally I feel great

Elena Baltacha

She added: "I'm very delighted, I played well. I played the way I wanted to before the match.

"It's shame though that there is only one of us (British women) that got through though.

"Then again how many years have we had all four girls in a main draw (of a Grand Slam)? I'm looking forward to my next match."

Baltacha reached the third round in Melbourne four years ago and she remains on course to at least match that feat after seeing off Groenefeld, ranked 63 places above the Briton at 71 in the world.


Baltacha raced to a 3-0 lead and then saved three break points before breaking again to seal the first set.

Groenefeld came storming back in the second set but from 4-1 down Baltacha reeled off five straight games, converting her third match point.

And the Scot is now keen to take on Mauresmo, the former world number one and Wimbledon and Australian Open champion.

"I'm very excited," said Baltacha. "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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