Wimbledon: Elena Baltacha happy to start against lower ranked Karni Knapp
SCOTLAND’S Elena Baltacha has been handed a golden opportunity to fire herself into the second round of Wimbledon and back into the world top 100 after being given a relatively kind first-round draw.
The British No 2 has been paired with Italy’s Karni Knapp, who is ranked No 109, eight places below the home player. After being drawn against world No 5 Sam Stosur first up at the French, this gives Baltacha an opportunity to make the second round, as she did last year, although a repeat of her best ever third-round showing which came a decade ago would require the small matter of defeating defending champion Petra Kvitova in round two. The Ipswich-based Scot told the East Anglia Daily Times: “I have never played her [Knapp] before and I actually don’t know very much about her, which is strange really because we’ve both been around a while.
“I will ask around the other players and get some info on her and there are probably some clips on YouTube as well, which can be quite useful just to see how someone plays.
“For me it’s about making sure that I play the kind of tennis that I know I can and if I do that I’m confident I can win.
“It’s not a bad draw at all but, you know, everyone can play and everyone badly wants to win every match at Wimbledon, so I’ll need to be ready. My neck has been getting better slowly since I pulled out of Eastbourne and there has been a big improvement in the last day or so, which is great. I’m having lots of physio on it and I’m very optimistic that I’ll be fine for Tuesday.”
Top seed Maria Sharapova opens up with what should be an easy clash against Austria’s Anastasia Rodionova. All the top players avoided unseeded Venus Williams, although third seed Agnieszka Radwanska will come up against her if the former champion beats Russia’s Elena Vesnina in the first round.
Defending champion Petra Kvitova opens up against 6ft 3in Uzbek Akgul Amanmuradova and could eventually set up a semi-final clash with Serena Williams, who starts against world No 61 Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Second seed Victoria Azarenka starts her campaign against Irina Falconi while one of the most appetising clashes of the women’s draw sees Kim Clijsters’ taking on fellow former world No 1 Jelena Jankovic.
Britain’s other women have received a mixed draw. Laura Robson, who reached the second round last year, takes on world No 26 Francesca Schiavone.
British No 1 Anne Keothavong will be confident of beating world No 100 Laura Pous-Tio. Heather Watson takes on world No 52 Iveta Benesova while wild card entrant Johanna Konta faces America’s Christina McHale. Stockport’s Naomi Broady takes on Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez Lino.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 21 C
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Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
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