AUSTRALIAN OPEN 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 positive despite defeat
Elena Baltacha produced a battling performance but tailed off in the third set as French 20th seed Amelie Mauresmo knocked her out of the Australian Open.
Mauresmo beat the Briton 4-6 6-3 6-2 in the second round on Thursday, fighting back after Baltacha took the first set.
The French former world number one regrouped in the second set then won six straight games in the third.
Mauresmo, 29, who won the Australian Open three years ago, will now face 13th seed Victoria Azarenka.
"I see it as a learning curve," said Baltacha, ranked 134 in the world, following her defeat.
"It gives me confidence that I know I can play at that level. I'm confident I'll be in the top 100 soon and I just keep moving forwards."
Britain's Jamie Murray was another casualty on Thursday in Melbourne as he headed out of the men's doubles in straight sets.
Murray and American partner Eric Butorac were downed 6-4 6-4 by Ecuador's Nicolas Lapentti and Spain's Tommy Robredo.
"It was tough conditions and we didn't play particularly well and got beaten," said Murray.
"I lost my serve something like four times so we were always kind of fighting to get back into it."
I was kind of a little slow at the beginning, not being positive with my game
Mauresmo struck first in her match with Baltacha, breaking serve at the second time of asking, but the Briton unearthed some big backhands and superb passing shots to twice break back.
She missed her opportunity to serve out for the first set, but broke Mauresmo for a third time and wrapped up the set with an exquisite drop-shot.
Mauresmo appeared determined to get back into the match as she took a 2-0 lead in the second set.
While Baltacha earned several break points, her second-set play lacked the intensity she had sustained to win the first, and Mauresmo eventually got the better of a series of gruelling games to level the match.
Following a 10-minute break in the intense heat, Baltacha made the perfect start to the third set, breaking once again.
But she then lost her nerve, and forehand, as Mauresmo won six games in a row.
Baltacha double-faulted at match point to seal her fate and send Mauresmo through.
"At 5-2 in the first set I really started to put a little bit more on the ball and move a little bit better," said Mauresmo.
"I was kind of a little slow at the beginning, not being positive with my game.
"I started to serve much better and with much more power after that, so for me that was really the moment when I started to do much better."
Mauresmo's third-round opponent, Azarenka, has form in Australia having won the Brisbane International two weeks ago.
Azarenka, 19, was leading Tathiana Garbin 4-1 in the second round, when her Italian opponent retired through injury.
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