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Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Monday, 21 June 2010 17:20 UK

Elena Baltacha, Melanie South & Katie O'Brien go out

Wimbledon Championships
Venue: All England Club, London Date: 21 June - 4 July
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Elena Baltacha

Highlights - Baltacha crashes out in first round

By Phil Maiden
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Britain's Elena Baltacha, Melanie South and Katie O'Brien all suffered first round exits on day one of Wimbledon.

Baltacha was the first to go having been a set and 5-3 up on Croatia's Petra Martic before losing 2-6 7-5 6-3.

Wildcard entry Melanie South went down 6-1 6-2 to world number 69 Kulikova, who is ranked 168 places higher than the British number five.

O'Brien put up more of a fight but lost 6-3 6-7 (10-12) 6-4 to 28th seed Alona Bondarenko in a late night encounter.

The Yorkshire player exchanged breaks with the Ukrainian in the opening two games but was broken again in the seventh game to lose the first set.

The second set went to an epic tie-break in which O'Brien forced five set points before taking it 12-10 to level the match.

'Nerves got to me' - Baltacha

Bondarenko, who lost to Baltacha at Wimbledon last year, twice moved two games ahead in the decider only for O'Brien to hit back but the seeded player's third break proved decisive and she wrapped up victory shortly before 2130 BST.

Baltacha said her exit had been partly down to nerves and a poor first service.

"I'm a competitor and I want to win at all costs. It's very disappointing," she told BBC Sport.

"I was so close to making the second round. I was serving for the match and I got a little bit nervous.

"Once you show your opponent that you are a bit edgy they take control and that's it. You can find yourself in a lot of trouble.

"My first service percentage got me into a lot of trouble and that's one of the really big areas I need to improve on."

The 26-year-old had been tipped to reach the second round with Martic ranked 15 places below her and having only been at Wimbledon once before.

The world number 62 could not have started better as the Croat produced two double faults before being broken in the opening game of the match.

Baltacha used her physical presence to force her opponent into making errors, as she broke her serve for a second time in the seventh game before securing the first set.

606: DEBATE

And it looked as though the Briton would be progressing to the next round when she coolly broke Martic for a third time to lead 3-2 in the second set.

But the turning point proved to be the first time Baltacha lost her serve in the second set.

With the British number one looking to seal victory she stuttered allowing Martic to begin an impressive fightback.

Baltacha then went on to lose her next two service games as the world number 77 took a 3-0 third-set lead before going on to win.

The Nottingham champion and Eastbourne quarter-finalist was then broken twice more to leave Martic only needing to win her next three service games.

The Croat kept her cool to seal a second round spot at Wimbledon for the first time.

Kingston-born South struggled from the opening game, and was broken for the first of five times during her match.

"It wasn't my best match," she said. "On paper I wasn't expected to win but I definitely wanted a better performance. I gave it a go but it didn't pay off.

Usually my serve is my strength and, when it's not working, it's pretty hard. She just broke me too many times

Mel South

"Usually my serve is my strength and, when it's not working, it's pretty hard. She just broke me too many times."

South revealed she is battling injuries to both knees but insists she will stay on at Wimbledon to play in the doubles, where she will partner Anne Keothavong in the women's competition.

"It's an ongoing problem," she said. "The tape makes it look a lot worse than it is. It just helps to take the pressure off.

"I'm playing the doubles but when that's finished I'll speak to the doctor and check that everything is OK. It's uncomfortable but it's not career-threatening."



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see also
Wimbledon day one as it happened
21 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Jankovic defeats battling Robson
21 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Venus claims comfortable victory
21 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Federer escapes first-round shock
21 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Roddick cruises into second round
21 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Wimbledon - day one photos
21 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Grand slam women singles results
21 May 10 |  Tennis
Wimbledon women's draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis


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