Elena Baltacha qualifies for ABS Classic in Auckland

ELENA Baltacha is through to the main draw of the ABS Classic WTA Tour event in Auckland after winning three qualifying matches.

The British No1 beat Stephanie Dubois of Canada 6-3, 6-1 in the final round of qualifying following earlier wins over Sharon Fichman and Severine Bremond-Beltrame, and she now plays Romania's Raluca Olaru in the opening round.

Baltacha has also entered qualifying for the WTA Tour event in Hobart next week, and will then take her place in the main draw of the Australian Open, which starts on 18 January. Katie O'Brien is the other British woman who is also playing in the main draw in Melbourne.

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"Against Dubois it was just a very good performance," Baltacha said. "In three matches here I've played really well and I've been able to do that when things have been close, so overall I couldn't ask for more.

"It's fantastic to qualify, because the field is very, very strong here this year. Whenever you qualify it always fills you with confidence. I'm very chuffed.

"I've come through three tough matches and I've had to play good tennis in big moments to get through. It will be tough against Olaru, but I've come through three difficult matches and that should help me."

Currently No84 in the world, Baltacha was forced to cancel a trip home to Scotland for Christmas because of the adverse weather. With snow threatening to close some airports, she felt obliged to stay in the south of England to ensure she was able to set off for New Zealand on Boxing Day as scheduled.