Elena Baltacha knocked out of Australian Open

ELENA Baltacha has been knocked out of the Australian Open at the first hurdle after being defeated in straight sets by French woman Stephanie Foretz Gacon, 6-2, 6-4.

The Ipswich-based Scot was made to pay for an awful start when she fell 4-0 behind in the first set and was unable to claw her way back.

The 28-year-old improved in the second set, trading blows with the 30-year-old who is ranked 107th in the world, 53 places below Baltacha, but lost her nerve on her service game with the set poised at 4-4.

Foretz Gacon squandered six break points but broke through on the seventh and duly served it out to advance in one hour and 30 minutes.

The result is a massive blow for Baltacha who, before Christmas, signalled her intent to reach the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.

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