Safina ends Baltacha run
Originally published on: 26/02/10 13:02
Baltacha simply could not cope with the groundstrokes of last year’s runner-up to lose 6-1 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena.
It meant Baltacha was unable to beat her best ever result at a grand slam after also reaching the third round at Melbourne Park in 2005 and at Wimbledon two years ago.
While she was outgunned by a player who spent most of last season as world number one, Baltacha has certainly proved in her run to the last 32 that she belongs inside the top 100. The Kiev-born right-hander reached a career-high ranking of 83 last week and that is set to climb after her efforts in Melbourne, which included a second-round win over 30th seed Kateryna Bondarenko.
Baltacha was never truly in the hunt on Friday in the face of some fearsome strokeplay from the 23-year-old Safina.
The Russian plundered 19 winners as she went for her shots from both wings, leaving Baltacha a redundant figure at times as she could only hope Safina missed the lines.
She rarely did and broke all three of Baltacha’s service games in an opening set that lasted 26 minutes.
Baltacha responded by winning her first service game of the second set to love, but then conceded the break to go 3-1 down with a double fault.
It was all Safina needed and she took another break of serve before closing out the match in 57 minutes.
Safina will next play the winner of the match between Italy’s Roberta Vinci and Maria Kirilenko, who knocked out former winner Maria Sharapova in the opening round.