Elena Baltacha loses to Irina-Camelia Begu in Hobart

Elena Baltacha in Hobart
Baltacha could not capitalise on her chances against the higher-ranked Romanian

British number one Elena Baltacha has suffered another early exit, losing in straight sets to Irina-Camelia Begu at the Moorilla Hobart International.

The eighth-seeded Romanian won 6-2 7-5 to set up a meeting with compatriot Simona Halep in round two.

Baltacha, who exited last week's ASB Classic in Auckland in round two, put up a decent fight in the second set.

But the Scot could capitalise on only two of six break points against the 21-year-old from Bucharest.

Begu, who is ranked 11 places above her opponent, converted all three of her break points.

British number three Heather Watson, 19, defeated German Kristina Barrois 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-1) in the third round of qualifying to secure her place in the main draw, where she will face Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova in the first round on Monday.

"It was a marathon today, in tough windy conditions, but my off season training is paying off," Watson wrote on Twitter.external-link "Very happy with that and I'm going to keep fighting!"

Although Romanians won three out of four first-round matches they contested on Sunday, third-seeded Monica Niculescu was swept aside by Anna Chakvetadze of Russia 6-0 6-4 at the pre-Australian Open event.

The other Romanian winners were Sorana Cirstea, who beat seventh-seeded Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan 6-2 7-6, Simona Halep, who defeated Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 4-6 6-2 7-5.

Australian Anastasia Rodionova beat Greta Arn of Hungary 6-4 7-5.

Meanwhile, China's Zheng Jie won the Auckland Classic after opponent Flavia Pennetta retired hurt with a back injury when Zheng was leading 2-6 6-3 2-0.

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