Australian Open: Elena Baltacha upsets 30th-seed to reach third round

BRITISH number one Elena Baltacha upset 30th-seed Kateryna Bondarenko at the Australian Open to ensure she would at least match her best-ever result at a grand slam.

• Baltacha celebrates her victory in Melbourne today (PA)

Baltacha defied a rankings difference of over 50 places to win the second-round match 6-2 7-5 in one hour and 34 minutes.

The 26-year-old's gutsy win means she will play in the third round of a grand slam for just the third time in her career after advancing to the last 32 at Melbourne Park in 2005 and at Wimbledon in 2002.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was also just the fourth win of her career against a top-50 rival and after reaching a career-high ranking of 83 earlier this month – which earned her direct entry to a grand slam for the first time – her victory was earned on the back of 35 winners.

Baltacha started confidently as she broke Bondarenko's opening two service games to jump 3-0 ahead in the first set.

Bondarenko fought back to 3-2, but with her serve misfiring Baltacha was again able to string a run of three games together to win the first set in 35 minutes.

Bondarenko did not win a single point on her second serve in the first set as the Briton's aggression, especially off her forehand, paid dividends.

The second set was a see-sawing battle with Bondarenko racing 3-0 ahead on the back of some more consistent serving.

But again Baltacha, who beat Bondarenko's sister Alona to reach the second round at Wimbledon last year, was again able to put a run of games together.

The Briton won the next four, fending off three break points along the way, to steal the initiative and leave Bondarenko covering her face with her towel at the change of ends.

And while Bondarenko broke again Baltacha got her chance to serve for the match at 6-5 and did not waste the chance with the 23-year-old Ukrainian conceding the match when she hit a forehand long.