Baltacha Stuns Schiavone
Published July 29, 2010 12:00
ISTANBUL, Turkey - When the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour descended on Istanbul, Francesca Schiavone, ranked No.8 in the world and the reigning French Open champion, was at the very top of the favorites list. And she was looking good, cruising past Anne Keothavong in the first round, 62 62.
Another one of Great Britain's greatest had different ideas.
Elena Baltacha, at No.59 the UK's only Top 100 player at the moment, broke serve in the first game of the match and took it to Schiavone from beginning to end with her big serve and forehand, ousting the No.1 seed handily, 64 62.
"I'm really proud of today. It's my third Top 10 win and I've had such a great year," Baltacha said. "I'd like to think this is the real Elena Baltacha. I'm beginning to perform much more consistently, and I'm improving a lot. I still have a few things to work on but I feel every week I'm adding a lot of positives."
Baltacha's first Top 10 wins came this year, beating Li Na at Indian Wells and Eastbourne. She was the first Brit to beat a Top 10 player in over a decade.
"In the three weeks off after Wimbledon, one of the things I worked on with my coach was trying to expose my opponent then run around and finish with a forehand," Baltacha added. "It's really paying off. I'm confident I can hit a big forehand when the situation comes up. I'm delighted with how I'm playing."
Schiavone, who is now 1-3 since winning her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, was gracious in defeat to Baltacha in the pair's first meeting.
"She served very well and played well at the most important moments," the 30-year-old Italian said. "I didn't play so well so I'm a little bit upset, but it can happen. I want to think positive and not create big problems because of one match. I have to keep going to work and finding the energy to go on the court ready to fight. Maybe today I wasn't ready to compete at a good level."