First on and first out, Baltacha blown away by dominant Stosur
Elena Baltacha’s French Open campaign was short-lived. The British No 1 was first on court on day one of the Paris grand slam tournament yesterday and bowed out after losing in straight sets to US Open champion Samantha Stosur.
For a while in the opening set, Baltacha managed to trouble world No 6 Stosur, but after coming back from a break down she then lost seven successive games to suffer a 6-4 6-0 first-round defeat.
Baltacha, 28, fell an immediate break down in the opening set but then competed well to recover and close to 5-4, back on serve. Serving in the tenth game, Baltacha conceded another break and consequently the set, and the world No 68 crumbled from that stage on.
There were flickers from the British player’s racquet in the second set, notably a fierce forehand that whistled past Stosur as it landed just inside the baseline, but they were infrequent.
The match was afforded the stadium stage of Philippe Chatrier Court but it became a no-contest as Baltacha, who struggled with her serve, won just nine points in the second set.
Stosur, runner-up to Francesco Schiavone at Roland Garros two years ago, clinched victory on her third match point to reach the last 64.
Baltacha said afterwards: “I knew it was going to be a difficult match. I knew as well that if I played really well, maybe she had a bit of an off day, then potentially maybe I would have had a chance but I knew I would have to play a very, very big match.
“First set I felt like I was kind of in it; obviously I crawled my way back to 5-4. I didn’t particularly play a great service game, but then you’ve got to remember that I did play one of the best clay-court players in the world so it was a big ask.
“Then she went up a couple of levels, a couple of gears, and she was just too good in the second set.
“She played unbelievable in the second set. She really let loose.
“Obviously with such shape that she uses, if you drop anything just a bit short then she really takes advantage of it. She wants to run around that backhand and spank that forehand. She uses this really well. That was the thing that I really tried to be careful of, really try and pull out wide. But it was very difficult when you have such shape coming at you.”
Stosur was happy to get the match over with in quick fashion. “It’s a bit of an early start, but always nice to get through it now,” the Australian said. “You have the whole day and whatever else to recover and enjoy.”
She was also happy to be on red clay in Paris after players criticised the blue clay surface introduced at the Madrid Open this month, saying it was slippery. “It’s nice to be on a real clay court again and actually feel like you can play more clay court tennis,” she said.
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