Defending champion Kvitova overwhelms Baltacha


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The Independent Online

Elena Baltacha won just four games as she crashed out of Wimbledon at the hands of the highly impressive defending champion Petra Kvitova.

Baltacha was hoping to become the first British woman since 1996 to reach the last 16, but she came nowhere near getting the faintest sniff of victory on Court Two as she fell to a 6-0 6-4 loss.

Baltacha's defeat, in what could be her last match at Wimbledon, was down to a combination of some sublime tennis from Kvitova and some woeful ball-striking in the first set from the British number two who did exhibit some fight in the second set.

Baltacha had needed treatment during her first-round win over Karin Knapp and the 28-year-old wore heavy strapping on both legs, although she moved relatively freely throughout.

British Fed Cup captain Judy Murray, and the rest of the partisan crowd, willed Baltacha on as she took to the court, but their support counted for little as Kvitova set about destroying the Scot.

A nervy opening saw the Czech break her opponent's serve when Baltacha hit a backhand beyond the baseline while off balance.

Kvitova glided across the court as she held comfortably thanks to an array of powerful and clinical shots, and she broke again in the third game with a backhand that clipped the sideline.

A pair of powerful aces helped the champion gain momentum and yet more misery followed for Britain's number two when she double-faulted before being broken thanks to a clever drop shot from Kvitova.

A routine hold gave Kvitova the first set in 21 minutes, the killer blow coming in the form of a 100mph ace.

Determined Kvitova put herself on course for a 6-0 6-0 "double bagel" when she broke again in the opening game of the second. To her credit Baltacha saved four break points, but on Kvitova's fifth break point the Scot clubbed a forehand woefully long.

A double fault at deuce in Baltacha's following service game gave Kvitova two more break points but she hung on and served out, much to the joy of the home crowd.

Baltacha, buoyed by holding, then stunned her opponent by breaking serve and winning the following game to love.

Normal service resumed in the following game though as Kvitova held.

And despite Baltacha saving two match points in the ninth game, fourth seed Kvitova soon went on to seal victory and a fourth-round clash against Varvara Lepchenko.