Baltacha books place in second round at Strasbourg

BRITISH number one Elena Baltacha continued her good recent form on clay after booking her place in the second round of the Strasbourg International.

The Ipswich tennis ace was leading Magdalena Rybarikova by one set to love before the Slovakian was forced to retire injured at the start of the second set.

Baltacha will now play top seed and local favourite, Marion Bartoli, or Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm in the second round.

She said: “Of course I’m delighted to be through to the next round, despite the circumstances. I played some solid tennis in the first set and it was a real shame that Rybarikova couldn’t carry on after picking up an injury during the match.

“I’m really excited about my next match – Kimiko is so experienced but I’d also be very excited about a potential second round match against Marion Bartoli because she’s ranked 12 in the world.

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“Either way it’s going to be another test and another valuable preparation match before going over to the French Open. This has been a really good clay court season so far and I’m definitely enjoying myself more than I have in the past. It’s great to keep it going here.”

Baltacha, who is currently ranked 83rd in the world, is a direct entrant into the main draw of Roland Garros when the French Open starts on Sunday.

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