Amelie Mauresmo does not find herself outgunned by many opponents, but for an hour yesterday the former Wimbledon and Australian Open champion had to fight a rearguard action. Mauresmo recovered to beat Elena Baltacha 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the women's singles second round, but her 25-year-old opponent took justifiable pride in her performance.
Baltacha, the last of the four British women in the main draw, is 112 places lower in the rankings than the world No 22 but bridged that gap impressively in an excellent first set. Mauresmo was repeatedly troubled by her opponent's aggressive returns of serve and turned the match around only after starting to mix her game up. As the match progressed Baltacha made an increasing number of mistakes, particularly on her forehand, and by the end had made 49 unforced errors to Mauresmo's 33.
"Of course, I'm disappointed but I think there are more positives for me to take from the match than negatives," Baltacha said afterwards. "I took a set off Mauresmo and I had points to go 3-1 up in the third set. That's really exciting stuff. I couldn't sustain my level in the third set and I pretty well won the match for her with my mistakes, but I've proved to myself that I can play at that level.
"I've never played tennis like that, even when I made the third round here [four years ago]. I don't think I was capable of that then and I've really shown that I've improved my tennis. Now I can go forward and really take advantage of what I've experienced."
Jamie Murray, Andy's brother, and his partner, Eric Butorac, lost in the first round of the doubles, going down 6-4, 6-4 to Nicolas Lapentti and Tommy Robredo. Jamie's verdict was succinct: "I served like a dog."