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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Britain's Baltacha bundled out

Photo Titled Baltacha blow
Baltacha blow
British hopes in the women’s competition were extinguished today as Elena Baltacha was bundled out of the tournament in straight sets 7-5, 6-1 by Kirsten Flipkens. The wildcard was unable to reproduce the consistency she showed in Tuesday’s victory over world No. 33 Alona Bondarenko, falling at the hands of the petite Belgian in one hour and 17 minutes.

With Baltacha holding a 2-0 winning record over Flipkens, home fans had every right to be optimistic of the British No. 2 setting up an intiguing third-round match against top seed Dinara Safina. But except for a bright start, where Baltacha showed a lot of power and purpose to get an early break of serve to lead 2-1, the 5' 5" Belgian always looked the likelier winner with her solid, but unextravagant play.

Flipkens evened up the scoreline at 3-3 when a collection of Baltacha double faults handed the 23-year-old the break back in the sixth game. Another erratic service game in the 12th game of the set then gave the Belgian the initiative at 7-5.

On only her second visit to SW19, Flipkens will be pleased with a third round spot in a Grand Slam for the first time in her career and she diligently went about her job in front of a heavily British crowd trying their best to gee up a frustrated Baltacha.

After losing the first set 7-5, it appeared a toilet break by Baltacha did more harm than good as she emerged a shadow of the confident player that originally stepped out on court.

A serve by Flipkens at the start of the second set was judged to be an ace but the world No. 105, from Enfield, immediately confronted the referee after believing the shot was long. The British crowd backed her up, sending boos around a packed Court 4 but the point stood.

Another borderline decision in the same game prompted a screech of frustration by Baltacha and her game continued to unravel of her game as she started to miss groundstrokes by quite a distance.With Flipkens standing at 1-0, Baltacha was then broken twice in a second set lasting just 33 minutes.

Flipkens can now look ahead to a showdown with Safina on Saturday after the world No. 1 knocked out Rossana De Los Rios 6-3, 7-5.

Court 4 - Ladies' Singles - 2nd Round
Elena Baltacha GBR 51
Kirsten Flipkens BEL Winner76

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