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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Baltacha bests Bondarenko

Photo Titled Baltacha victory roar
Baltacha victory roar
British wildcard entrant Elena Baltacha provided the only glimmer of inspiration for British women's tennis as she fought a rearguard action to snaffle the proverbial victory from the jaws of defeat, beating the Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko in three sets, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, on her third match point.

At the start of the match the picture looked very different, as the 22-year-old Bondarenko strolled too easily through the first set. Baltacha looked out of sorts and her frustration at her own play was writ large on her face.

But the feisty Briton was having none of it, and fought back valiantly against the Ukrainian, ranked 73 places above her, playing some sweet groundstrokes along the way.

The third set ebbed and flowed and might have gone either way at 4-4, but it was Baltacha who pulled out the delightful victory.

After the match she acknowledged this was a big win for her. The crowd clearly played a small part – she said: "it was so lovely. I tried hard to control my emotion, because everyone was getting up. Everyone was clapping, you know. I had goose pimples pretty much everywhere."

She meets Belgian Kirsten Flipkens in round two. "She's obviously playing really well. So it's another tough match. But I'm looking forward to it, of course," Baltacha said. "I've got an opportunity, without a doubt. If I play good tennis, like I played today and just keep believing, then I think I've got a very good chance of getting through to the third round."

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