Baltacha triumphs in Florida

British No.1 Elena Baltacha is through to the second round of the prestigious Sony Ericsson Open in Miami after beating Iveta Benesova 6-2, 6-4 in her opening match in the main draw.

Baltacha came through qualifying at the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Premier Mandatory event - which is nicknamed ‘the fifth grand slam’ - and has now won three matches.

She now faces World No.14 Yanina Wickmayer and will be hoping she can repeat her giant-killing feat against Li Na in Indian Wells just under a fortnight ago, when she became the first British woman since 1998 to beat a top ten player.

Ipswich based baltacha said:“I feel really fantastic. I knew going into the match not to take her lightly. She’s very talented, very gifted and she’s very dangerous. I just went out there and I was so focused and so in the zone from the first ball to the last ball. It was quite bizarre that I was off that court that quickly, because the last two matches have been pretty tough and I was out there for a little while. I played really well, I took my game to her and I managed to deliver in two. Now I feel really good.

“Confidence plays an enormous role, especially after last week – coming out, qualifying, beating a top ten player and then coming here and having to qualify again. I had to try and get my head around that and to really focus and I managed to do that. It’s amazing, I’m in the second round and I’m playing Wickmayer and I’ve got a shot. I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain and I’m really looking forward to it.

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“I like playing the big names. Why not? I’m playing well and I’ve got all the momentum because I’ve come through three tough matches in two sets and she hasn’t played a match yet. I feel very confident. I’ve got absolutely nothing to lose so I’m just going to go out there and give it to her and see what I can do. It would be lovely to have another win.”

On the British women in Miami (including 17-year-old Heather Watson)

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“It’s wonderful. Someone was telling me that we’ve haven’t had three women in the main draw here since 1991. We’re now the ones who are breaking those records and long may that continue.

“Heather is such a lovely girl. She’s young and for her it’s been a great opportunity to rub shoulders with all the top players - her eyes are really sparkling and that’s really nice to see because I remember being like that when I was a junior and when I got wildcards into big tournaments.”

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