Keothavong & Baltacha: The Perfect Day...
Published June 26, 2012 12:00
LONDON, England - It couldn't have been a better day for two of Britain's biggest talents on Tuesday, as Anne Keothavong and Elena Baltacha not only moved into the second round of their home Grand Slam, they also found out they will compete in front of their home crowd again at the Olympics.
Keothavong, who recently passed Baltacha to become Britain's No.1 player, made quick work of Laura Pous-Tio in her first round match, hitting 23 winners to the tenacious Spaniard's 10 during the one-hour, 24-minute victory.
"The win today was good, but I made it a little difficult for myself out there - it's a first round match at Wimbledon, and I was nervous at the start," Keothavong said. "There were quite a few breaks at the start but I felt like I settled into the match well eventually, and I never felt like I was going to lose the match.
"It was a case of getting the job done."
Keothavong has been to the third round of a Grand Slam before - the US Open in 2008 - but with No.10 seed and French Open finalist Sara Errani looming as her next opponent, it could be a tough task for her to repeat the feat.
"Sara Errani is playing great tennis. She's been one of the girls who has won the most number of matches this year, and obviously making the final in Paris was a great result," Keothavong said. "I've played her before. It's a match where I definitely have to do things better than I did today if I'm going to have a shot."
Baltacha, who had spent most of the last few years as Britain's No.1, had a come-from-behind 46 64 60 victory against Italy's Karin Knapp in her match.
"Coming through that match was tough - I didn't start particularly well," Baltacha said in her presser. "I got myself in the second set and got it done. I felt like I was playing better, but was struggling with the serve, probably because I haven't served the last five days because I had a neck problem last week.
"But you know what? The third set started and I felt like I was me. I am very, very delighted to have come through that after being a set down."
"Realistically have I got a shot? Probably not if she's on," Baltacha said. "But you never know. She might wake up and get out of bed on the wrong foot. She might be carrying an injury. I don't know. As long as I can get myself fully fit for the match, go out there and believe I can win, you never know what can happen.
"Maybe the stars will come together for me."
"That's a tough match, but I think Petra was struggling today in her first round match," Keothavong said. "Anyone's beatable on any given day."
The two 28-year-olds discussed how they found out about the Olympics.
"The news about the Olympics came on through before I went on court," Keothavong said. "Just to have that confirmation, it's just something I've always dreamt about, something I've worked hard towards, and I'm just so proud to say I'll be representing Great Britain at the Olympics in London this year."
"I was quite emotional anyway to have won my match, then I went straight over to my team, giving hugs," Baltacha said. "And then Judy kind of leant over and said, 'I've got more really good news for you. You have been given a spot at the Olympics.' That was it. That was when the tears were just going everywhere. Same with Judy. We hugged and that was it. It really made me blubber.
"I'll always remember that moment I found out I'm going to be an Olympian. You're talking about the elite people in the whole world who are going to be in one place doing their sport. I can't explain what a feeling it is."
The two other Brits in action lost, with wildcard Johanna Konta losing a marathon to No.28 seed Christina McHale, 67(4) 62 108, and another wildcard, Laura Robson, losing to No.24 seed Francesca Schiavone, 26 64 64.
"I'm really disappointed actually," Robson said. "I thought I was in control of it and then just made a few mistakes and let her get back into the match. She's a Grand Slam champion - she took advantage of the situation completely."
"She was playing really well, particularly in the first set, and I couldn't find the timing to return her serve," Schiavone said. "But then I found it, and I felt much more confident. And then with a little bit of experience and a little bit of personality - and maybe some good shots - I came back to win."
Victoria Azarenka, Marion Bartoli, Vera Zvonareva, Roberta Vinci, Zheng Jie, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova all chalked up wins for the seeds, but Kiki Bertens beat No.19 seed Lucie Safarova, 63 60, and Yanina Wickmayer beat No.32 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, 62 63.
Five matches were suspended due to rain and four more were cancelled.