Stosur ends Baltacha's brave run in Eastbourne quarters

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Elena Baltacha's winning run came to an end at Eastbourne yesterday but the British No 1 will go to Wimbledon next week cheered by her preparations for her home Grand Slam tournament.

Baltacha, the world No 62, fell at the quarter-final stage of the Aegon International, losing 6-7, 6-1, 6-0 to Australia's Samantha Stosur, the world No 7, who now meets Russia's Ekaterina Makarova. In the other semi-final Marion Bartoli takes on Victoria Azarenka, who beat Kim Clijsters 7-6, 6-4.

Having beaten Li Na (world No 10) and Jie Zheng (No 24) in her two previous matches, Baltacha will head for the All England Club in good heart. "It's still been a very good week," she said. "My goal was to have a pop at a top player and I made the quarter-finals. I didn't think I would do that in such a strong draw. Going into next week, winning in Nottingham and making the quarter-finals here, I couldn't have asked for better preparation."

Baltacha will learn of her first-round opponent at Wimbledon when the draw is made this morning. However, the name of the other British quarter-finalist in Eastbourne will not be in the hat. James Ward, the world No 342, chose to take a wild card into the Aegon International rather than one into Wimbledon qualifying – he was not offered a place in the main draw – and was rewarded with victories over Feliciano Lopez (world No 30) and Rainer Schüttler (No 72).

However, Ward's run ended yesterday when he was beaten 6-3, 6-4 by Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov, the world No 57. Ward dropped his serve once in each set but showed plenty of spirit, saving 14 break points. In the semi-finals Dolgopolov meets Michael Llodra, while Denis Istomin faces Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Andy Murray continued his Wimbledon preparations by playing an exhibition match against Mikhail Youzhny at the BNP Paribas Classic at Hurlingham. Murray won 6-4, 6-3 and looked in good shape, breaking serve twice in the second set.

Lisa Whybourn, the only Briton through to the final round of the Wimbledon qualifiers at Roehampton, was beaten 6-1, 6-2 by the Czech Republic's Andrea Hlavackova. Whybourn was unranked nine months again but is likely to climb into the world's top 400 next week.

Two men's seeds pulled out of Wimbledon. Radek Stepanek, the No 22 seed, has a problem with his left knee, while Ivo Karlovic, the No 25 seed, has a foot injury. Elena Dementieva, the women's world No 5, has also withdrawn, having failed to recover from a calf injury.