Baltacha through to round two in Australia

IPSWICH tennis star Elena Baltacha has this morning made it through to the second round of the Australian Open.

Baltacha won through in a tough encounter against American Jamie Hampton after losing the first set 6-3.

The 27-year-old, who went into the match expected to win through, rallied and eventually won the last two sets 6-4, 7-5.

Occasionally feisty, the match was hit by three rain delays and a medical timeout - after Baltacha complained of a lower leg problem.

It did not start well for Baltacha as she dropped her opening service game. She hit back to level at 2-2 but Hampton’s greater weight of shot on the forehand side eventually prevailed as two more breaks saw her claim the opening set.

A 10-minute rain delay then stalled Hampton’s momentum and Baltacha found a foothold, and then a break to establish a 5-4 lead which she duly cemented to level matters at one-set all.

The turnaround continued with Baltacha establishing a 3-1 lead in the decider before some more light rain prompted the Scot to sit in her chair after declaring the court too slippery to play.

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She used the break to receive some treatment on a lower leg problem which continued at 3-2 once play resumed.

Initially it seemed as though the injury was impacting her game as Baltacha dumped a sloppy backhand into the net to relinquish her break.

Further rain at 5-5 again saw Baltacha march to her chair with Hampton visibly irritated by the constant interruptions.

And a bad line call early in game 11 proved the final straw for the qualifier from Auburn, ranked 132 in the world, as she delivered three double faults from 15-all to gift Baltacha a 6-5 lead.

Baltacha still needed three match points to secure the win, the winning shot an ace out wide.

Baltacha, daughter of former Ipswich Town player Sergei, will now face 11th seed Justine Henin in the second round.

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