Wimbledon 2011: Elena Baltacha loses to Shuai Peng in round two

Wimbledon Championships

Venue:
All England Club, London
Date:
20 June-3 July
Coverage:
Live on BBC One, Two, 3D, HD, Red Button, online (UK only), Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra; live text commentary from 0900 BST on BBC Sport website (#bbctennis); watch again on iPlayer
Elena Baltacha

Britain's Elena Baltacha pushed China's 20th seed Shuai Peng all the way before making her Wimbledon exit in a thrilling three-set round-two battle.

Baltacha, 68 in the world, edged a tight opening set but her opponent hit back and flew through the second set.

Britain's number one, 27, grabbed early breaks in the decider to lead 4-2, only for her trusty serve to let her down.

Peng kept her cool to secure three straight games before finally avoiding a shock and winning 4-6 6-2 7-5.

Baltacha had been aiming to repeat her second-round triumph at the All-England Club in 2002 and become the first female Briton to reach the third round since that win.

"I'm not distraught because I've been playing great tennis and I know that's going to continue," she said.

"The thing I'm most proud of today is that I'm now playing tennis like this on a consistent basis and I know that there are good things ahead.

"Peng doesn't give you anything. That's why she is 20th in the world. You have to really go for it against her and that's what I did. I've got no regrets."

Having endured Thursday's postponement because of bad weather, Baltacha looked in typical fiery mood and intent on making an early impression in front of a lively crowd on Court 18.

The Scot's brute force was more than a match for the Chinese right-hander and, after saving three break points to level at 2-2, the Ukraine-born player looked in confident mood.

Buoyed by the success of her first title of the year in the Aegon Challenge at Nottingham two weeks ago, Baltacha had three break points at 4-4 and a rasping forehand belted back past Peng's feet was the moment of magic to ultimately secure the first set.

But Peng, who made her first Grand Slam fourth round at the Australian Open earlier this year, slowly wrestled back control of this increasingly-intriguing battle.

With her first serve success statistics surpassing 80%, the 25-year-old broke to lead 3-1 in the second set and with her more subtle groundstrokes from the back of the court, Peng had few problems in levelling the encounter at one-set apiece.

After being blown away in 33 minutes in that second set, few would have given Baltacha much of a chance to conquer an opponent 48 places higher in the rankings, but limp responses are simply not part of her script.

With an immediate break at the start of the third set, Baltacha was dominant again, helped by a combination of powerplay and back-hand slices, and she swiftly cruised into a 4-2 lead.

However, Baltacha's trusty service weapon began to lose momentum as she watched Peng pick off three games to regain the advantage.

The Briton still showed plenty of spirit to save match points in the 12th game, but Peng wasn't to be denied as the Chinese star booked her passage to round three at Wimbledon for the third time and will next face Hungarian Melinda Czink.

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