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Elena Baltacha into round two of Hobart International

Elena Baltacha
Baltacha is currently ranked number 55 in the world

British number one Elena Baltacha is through to the second round of the Hobart International after victory over Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand.

The 27-year-old beat Tanasugarn - ranked 64th in the world - courtesy of a 6-3 6-3 scoreline.

The world number 55 will next play 4th-seeded Italian Roberta Vinci in round two on Tuesday.

The Hobart tournament is a warm-up event for the Australian Open, which starts on 17 January in Melbourne.

Baltacha will be hoping to improve on certain parts of her game prior to the first Grand Slam of the year.

It's not going to be easy [against Vinci] but it's all really good preparation going into Melbourne and into the Australian Open and that's what I really want

Elena Baltacha

A straight-sets victory over Tanasugarn could not mask that she had problems with her serve and whilst she broke her opponent three times in each set, she was broken twice herself in the second.

"Obviously, the first match of the year, having not played a match in two months, it's always quite difficult," admitted Baltacha. "But I managed that very well. I was really confident and I enjoyed the battle and obviously I was delighted that I managed to win it.

"I knew I had to be aggressive and really take the match to her, which I managed to do."

Baltacha is well aware of the need to start the season well and hopes a strong showing at Hobart will put her in good stead for the Australian Open.

"It was always helps when you do well at the beginning of the year," said Baltacha. "I did that last year. I came out to Australia and I qualified for my first two tournaments and then went on and made the third round of the Australian Open.

"This year I feel that starting the year at 55 [in the world] is fantastic and that's given me a lot of confidence going into this week and into the match today."

Looking forward to her second-round match with 39th-ranked Vinci (which starts at 0100 GMT on Tuesday), Baltacha added: "I've never played Vinci before but I know she's going to be very, very awkward and she's got a smart game plan.

"I have nothing to lose because she's a much higher ranked player than I am and it's always nicer playing when you're not expected to win because it means that you can go out there and relax and play your game.

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"It's not going to be easy but it's all really good preparation going into Melbourne and into the Australian Open and that's what I really want."

Elsewhere, top seed Marion Bartoli thrashed former world number one Dinara Safina, who continues to struggle on her return from a serious back injury.

The Russian's 6-0 6-1 loss to her French opponent is her second successive first-round defeat in a warm-up event for the Australian Open.

However, Bartoli was full of praise for Safina, saying: "She [Safina] was a very tough opponent tonight. If you look at the rallies we played I think it was a really great match.

"Some days we are really tight and the result goes my way. The score could have much been much tougher."

Second seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia was a significant first-round casualty as she was forced to retire at the start of the second set of her match with Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

The American was leading at the time, having taken the first set 6-2.



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see also
Injured Robson out of Aussie Open
09 Jan 11 |  Tennis
Wimbledon slump rocked Baltacha
21 Dec 10 |  Tennis
Delhi was risk to Baltacha career
27 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Baltacha pulls out of Delhi Games
25 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games


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