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Elena Sergeevna Baltacha (14 August 1983 – 4 May 2014) was a British professional tennis player. Being a four-time winner of the Aegon Award, she was also a long-term British No. 1, a position she held intermittently from 2002 to 2012.[1] However, due to her absence from competition due to knee surgery,[2] she dropped down the world rankings and at the time of her retirement on 18 November 2013, she was ranked as the world No. 221 and British No. 6. Her career high ranking of World No. 49 was achieved in September 2010.[3]

Over the course of her career she won eleven ITF singles titles (five $25,000, two $50,000, two $75,000, and two $100,000) and four ITF doubles titles (all $25,000). She was also a runner-up in three ITF events in singles and four in doubles. In 2010, Baltacha had victories over top 10 players, including two victories over Li Na (the second of which came via retirement) and one against Francesca Schiavone, who at the time was the reigning French Open champion. In 2011 Baltacha won her highest ranked tournament on the ITF tour, the 2011 Aegon Nottingham Challenge.

Baltacha died from liver cancer on 4 May 2014, aged 30.[4]

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Biography

Biography[edit]Edit

Born in KievUkraine, Baltacha moved with her family following a transfer of football clubs by her professional footballer father, Sergei. He represented the Soviet Unionand played in the United Kingdom for Ipswich TownSt. Johnstone and Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Her mother Olga represented the Soviet Union in both thepentathlon and heptathlon at the Olympic Games.[5] Her brother Sergei played football for St. Mirren and Millwall.[6]

After arriving at Heathrow Airport on 13 January 1989, Baltacha moved to Ipswich where her father was to play football for the next year before moving to Perth, Scotland, where she grew up and spent some of her teenage years,[5] before moving to Paisley, Scotland and attending Castlehead High School.[7]

Resident in Ipswich, on 8 December 2013, a month after her retirement from tennis, she married her coach Nino Severino,[8] a retired professional tennis player turned multi-sports specialist in mental and movement training coach, who also works with Ipswich Town F.C. and in coaching martial arts athletes.[9] In 2010 the couple had formed the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, which is based around the facilities at both Culford School near Bury St Edmunds, and Ipswich Sports Club where she trained during her career.[10]

At the age of 19 she was diagnosed with the liver condition primary sclerosing cholangitis and in June 2010 she became patron of the Children's Liver Disease Foundation.[11][12] Baltacha was diagnosed with liver cancer in January 2014.[13] She died from the disease on 4 May 2014 at the age of 30.[4] Several players paid tribute to Baltacha including Grand Slam champions Serena Williams, Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Victoria Azarenka, Kim Clijsters, Petra Kvitova, Marion Bartoli, Chris Evert and Svetlana Kuznetsova.[4][14]

Career[edit]Edit

Junior (1997–2001)[edit]Edit

Baltacha played her first match on the ITF junior circuit in February 1997 and her last at the 2001 US Open junior tournament. She never won a title but reached the final of two junior tournaments, at the 14th Bahia Junior Cup and at the LTA International Junior Tournament, Bisham Abbey. Baltacha also reached the semifinals of three tournaments and the quarterfinals of six others. In 2001 she reached the semifinals of theWimbledon juniors championships where she was beaten by eventual champion Angelique Widjaja. Over the course of her career as a junior, she gained wins over players such as Svetlana KuznetsovaGisela Dulko(twice) and Anne Keothavong. Her career-high singles ranking was world number 77 and her final singles win-loss record was 40–40.[15] Aside from junior ITF events, Baltacha also competed in the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2000, representing Scotland, and won a silver medal alongside Karen Paterson and Mhairi Brown in the women's team event.

As a doubles competitor, Baltacha won four tournaments and lost in the final of four more. She also lost in the semifinal stages of tournaments four times and the quarterfinals eight times. Her final doubles win-loss record was 37–30 and her career-high doubles ranking was world number 60.[15]

1997–2000[edit]Edit

In November 1997, Baltacha made her debut on the ITF circuit in Edinburgh where she was beaten in the first round of the qualifying stages in three sets by Danica Kovakova. She did however reach the quarterfinals of the doubles tournament.[16] She played only three adult ITF tournaments in 1998 (BirminghamSouthsea and Glasgow, all $10,000 events) and lost in the qualifying stages for each of them.[16] 1999 saw her first ITF main draw appearances. She competed in four tournaments in total and reached the quarterfinals of the $10,000 tournament in Glasgow.[16]

In April 2000, Baltacha reached the quarterfinals of the $10,000 tournament in Bournemouth as a qualifier. She was given a wild card into the qualifying draw of her home Grand SlamThe Championships, Wimbledonwhere Flavia Pennetta beat her in three sets. In October she received another wild card, this one into the Swisscom Challenge, a tier I tournament held in Zürich. The very next week she was a quarterfinalist at the $50,000 ITF tournament in Cardiff. Her season ending singles ranking was world number 397.[16]

2001–02[edit]Edit

Baltacha reached the quarterfinals of her first tournament of the year in January, a $10,000 ITF tournament in Jersey when she was forced to retire early in the second set. She was out of action until late April when she reached the quarterfinals of the $10,000 tournament in Hatfield. Two weeks later she reached the quarterfinals of the $25,000 tournament in Edinburgh as a qualifier. She followed this up with a run to the semifinals of the $25,000 event in Surbiton. She was then given a wild card into the qualifying draw for the tier II event in Eastbourne, the Britannic Asset Management International Championships where she beat Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano, in the final round of qualifying to reach the main draw. Conchita Martínez beat her in the first round. Just a week later she was given a wild card into the main draw of Wimbledon to give her the first appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam. She was beaten by Nathalie Dechy in round one. Following Wimbledon she reached yet another ITF quarterfinal; this one in a $25,000 tournament inFelixstowe. She lost in round one of the qualifying tournament for the US Open in August and competed in four more ITF tournaments, reaching the quarterfinals of two of them (both $25,000). She ended the year with a singles ranking of world number 248.[16]

In February 2002, Baltacha reached the quarterfinals of the $25,000 ITF tournament in Sutton. She played for Great Britain in the Fed Cup in April and won her singles rubber against Norway's Annette Aksdal. She then beat Lina Stančiūtė from Lithuania in the relegation play-offs in three sets. Following this she attempted to qualify for the tier IIICroatian Bol Ladies Open where she was beaten in round one of the qualifying draw. This was the first of a string of five consecutive losses, the last of which was in the first round of the qualifying draw for the DFS Classic, a tier III event. She broke this string of losses with a win over Alina Jidkovain round one of the qualifying draw for the tier IIBritannic Asset Management International Championships. She was beaten by Elena Likhovtseva in the second round of qualifying. She was then given a wild card into the main draw of Wimbledon where she beat María Vento-Kabchi in the first round[17] and Amanda Coetzer in the second round[18] before losing to Elena Likhovtseva (for the second time in two consecutive tournaments) in the third round.[19]

Her next tournament after Wimbledon was the $25,000 ITF event in Felixstowe which she won by beating Irishwoman Kelly Liggan in the final to give her the first ITF singles title of her career.[20] Two weeks later she won her second title in Pamplona, again $25,000, when she defeated Virginie Pichet in the final. After this she attempted to qualify for the US Open but lost in the first round of the qualifying tournament for the second consecutive year. She played two more $25,000 ITF tournaments after the US Open, Glasgow and Southampton, where she reached the semifinals and quarterfinals respectively. Her season ending ranking for 2002 was world number 157.[16]

2003–04[edit]Edit

Baltacha's 2003 season started slowly; she lost in round one of the qualifying tournament for the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open. In April she was again part of the Great Britain Fed Cup team but lost her only match against Hungary's Petra Mandula. She spent May failing to qualify for the tier III tournament, the Internationaux de Strasbourg and the second Grand Slam of the year, the French Open. In June she was given a wild card into the main draw of the DFS Classic but was forced to retire during her first round match against fellow Brit Jane O'Donoghue after the first game of the final set.[21] She was then awarded another wild card; this one into the qualifying draw of the tier II Hastings Direct International where she was beaten by Virginie Razzano. For the third year running, she received a wild card into the main draw ofWimbledon where she forced the former world number 5, Jelena Dokić, to fight for her eventual three-set victory.[22] This was Baltacha's final match of the year as she underwent invasive surgery after Wimbledon (to determine the cause of her persistent liver troubles) which put her out of action until 2004. As a result, her year-end singles ranking fell to world number 373.[16]

Baltacha returned to action in January 2004, reaching the semifinals of her first two ITF tournaments of the year. These were the $10,000 event in Hull and the $25,000 event in Sunderland. She played in the Fed Cup for the Great Britain Fed Cup team where she won her two singles rubbers against Turkey and Romania by beating Cigdem Duru and Monica Niculescu respectively. She also beat Irishwoman Yvonne Doyle in the Europe/Africa Group II play-offs. In June, Samantha Stosur beat her in the first round of the DFS Classic and Cara Black beat her in the final round of the qualifying tournament for the Hastings Direct Internationalone week later.[23] Baltacha then headed to Wimbledon main draw courtesy of another wild card. She demolished world number 61, Marta Marrero in round one[24] before falling to three-time Grand Slam champion,Jennifer Capriati in the second round.[25]

Between Wimbledon and the US Open qualifying tournament (where she reached the second round before being beaten by Angelique Widjaja), she suffered three consecutive first-round losses in $50,000 ITF tournaments in the United States. After the US Open she reached the final of a $25,000 ITF event in Jersey where she was beaten by Emma Laine. She spent the remainder of her year competing on the ITF circuit and her year-end singles ranking rose to world number 202.[16]

2005–06[edit]Edit

In the 2005 Australian Open qualifying tournament she won three matches in straight sets to qualify; she beat Els Callens, Jaslyn Hewitt and Teryn Ashley in rounds one, two and three respectively. In the first round of the main draw she beat Katarina Srebotnik who later remarked that the Brit was "on fire" and that "if [Elena] plays like today, she can beat anyone. Some of the shots she was hitting were unbelievable."[26] She continued her winning streak with another three-set victory in round two, this one over Frenchwoman Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro.[27] Unfortunately for Baltacha, she ran out of steam in the third round, losing to number 15 seed, Silvia Farina Elia.[28] She used her momentum from her good performance in the first Grand Slam of the year to carry her to the semifinals of her next tournament, a $25,000 ITF event in Sunderland where she lost to Sofia Arvidsson. She then immediately reached the finals of another $25,000 ITF event (this one in Redbridge) before being beaten by Nika Ožegović. She again played for Great Britain in the Fed Cup. She lost her singles rubber against Ana Timotić from Serbia, won her singles rubber against Karina-Ildor Jacobsgaard and was demolished in her third singles rubber against Katarina Srebotnik in retribution for her first round Australian Open exit. In the Europe/Africa Group I play-off, Baltacha was defeated by UkrainianAlona Bondarenko.

Baltacha then failed to qualify for two consecutive tier I events before losing in the first round of qualifying for the French Open when she lost to Elise Tamaëla. In June, three consecutive wild cards granted her entry into the main draws of the DFS Classic, the Hastings Direct International and Wimbledon where she was beaten by Milagros Sequera in the second round (having beaten Alona Bondarenko in the first), Conchita Martínez in round one[29] and Sabine Klaschka in the first round respectively. Following Wimbledon, Baltacha travelled to the ITF circuit in the United States without much success; she won only one of five matches she played in the run-up to the US Open qualifying draw where she also lost in the first round of qualifying. She then returned to the ITF circuit and reached the quarterfinals of the $25,000 event in Glasgow, the semifinals of the $25,000 event in Bolton and won the $25,000 tournament in Jersey. Her year-end singles ranking for the 2005 season was world number 122.[16]

For Baltacha, 2006 was a year much shortened by injury. Her first tournament of the year was the qualifying event for the Australian Open where she lost to Yuan Meng at the second stage of qualifying. In February she played one $25,000 ITF event (where she lost to Melanie South in the first round) and attempted to qualify for three consecutive tier II tournamentsAntwerpDubai (beaten in final round by Kateryna Bondarenko)[30][31] and Qatar. This was then followed by two first round losses in $25,000 ITF tournaments and a run to the semifinals of another. In May she again represented Great Britain in the Fed Cup and again won all three of her singles matches. She beat: Hungarian Kyra NagyBulgaria's Dimana Krastevitch, and Valeria Bondarenko from Ukraine. In the Europe/Africa play-off however, she lost to Slovakia'sMagdaléna Rybáriková. After the Fed Cup, Elena played only one more tournament in 2006. This tournament was the French Open where she lost in round one of qualifying to Yevgenia Savransky. She underwent keyhole surgery on a prolapsed disc on 7 June and spent the rest of the season out-of-action recovering[32] and as a result, her season-ending ranking was world number 347.[16]

2007–08[edit]Edit

By the time Baltacha returned to action in March 2007 after surgery, her singles ranking had fallen to 660 in the world and as such, she had to qualify for her first $25,000 ITF tournament of the year in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. She qualified before losing to Sorana Cîrstea in the first round. She competed in two more $25,000 events in March (reaching the quarterfinals of one) before heading to Bulgaria to compete in the Fed Cup for Britain. She played two singles matches (winning one) and four doubles matches (winning two). Following this she reached two consecutive $25,000 ITF semifinals in Incheon and Gimcheon, one as a qualifier and the other as a lucky loser. She consolidated these results with a run to the quarterfinals of another $25,000 in Changwon. In June she received a wild card into the main draw of the DFS Classic where she showed "fighting spirit" in her first round loss to Milagros Sequera.[33] She then received a wild card into the qualifying draw for the Hastings Direct International and proved she deserved it by dropping only nine games in the three matches she won to qualify. She then went on to beat the British number 1, Anne Keothavong, in round one of the main draw in a tense three set match and join fellow Britons, Melanie South and Katie O'Brien in the second round, making this the first year since 1991 that three British women reached the second round.[34] She could not quite match up to world number 14, Nicole Vaidišová, in the second round though and was beaten in straight sets.[35] She then received another wild card into the main draw of Wimbledon but wasn't able to overcome the 19th seed, Katarina Srebotnik.[36]

After Wimbledon, Baltacha headed to the United States to compete again on the ITF circuit where she reached the quarterfinals of the $50,000 event in Lexington. After being beaten in the first round of qualifying for the US Open by Evgeniya Rodina, Baltacha headed to Japan to attempt to qualify for the Japan Open. She beat María Emilia SalerniAgnes Szatmari and Natalie Grandin to qualify and then continued winning by defeating Yan Zi in the first round. She was defeated by number 5 seed and eventual champion, Virginie Razzano, in round two. This was followed by an unsuccessful attempt to qualify for a tier III event in Bangkokand then a return to the ITF circuit where she reached the semifinals in Makinohara and the quarterfinals in Hamanako (both $25,000), losing both times to Japan's Seiko Okamoto. Her final singles ranking of 2007 was world number 187.[16]

Baltacha began her 2008 season by qualifying for the ASB Classic, beating compatriot, Melanie South, along the way. She faced two-time ASB Classic champion and number 7 seed, Eleni Daniilidou, in the opening round and was beaten. She then progressed to round two of the qualifying tournament for the Australian Open when her first round opponent, Virginie Pichet, retired when down one set.[37] She was beaten in the second round of qualifying by Zhang Shuai.[38] In February she tried to qualify for Doha (tier I) and Dubai (tier II) but was unsuccessful in both. She then returned to action on the ITF circuit and won her next two consecutive tournaments: Jersey ($25,000) and Torhout ($75,000). In May she again lost in the first round of the qualifying tournament for the French Open and in June she again received a wild card into the main draw of the DFS Classic where she was beaten in round one by Ekaterina Makarova. Another wild card granted her entry into the qualifying rounds of the International Women's Open where she won her first match against Naomi Cavaday before retiring at one set down in her second match against Tsvetana Pironkova. She then played in the main draw of Wimbledon (again courtesy of a wild card) where she beat Angelique Kerber in the first round.[39] She was defeated in the second round by China's eventual semifinalist Zheng Jie in straight sets.[40]

Baltacha then lost three consecutive matches before defeating Anna Korzeniak and Carly Gullickson in the first two rounds of qualifying for the US Open. She fell just short of reaching the main draw when she lost toJulie Coin in the final round of qualifying. She played seven more higher-level ITF tournaments over the rest of the year and reached the quarterfinals in one of them: the $50,000 event in Ismaning where she lost toJulia Görges. Her year-end ranking was world number 136.[16]

2009[edit]Edit

Baltacha began 2009 by falling in the first round of qualifying for the ASB Classic before winning three matches to qualify for the Australian Open. She joined compatriots Katie O'Brien (also a qualifier), Anne Keothavong and Melanie South in the main draw; the first time that four British women had competed in the main draw of a Grand Slam other than Wimbledon since the 1992 U.S. Open.[41][42] Baltacha came up against German, Anna-Lena Grönefeld, in the first round and defeated her comfortably to set up a clash with former world number 1Amélie Mauresmo. Despite surprising many by taking the first set, Baltacha eventually lost in three sets.[43]

February saw Baltacha represent her country in the Fed Cup where she won all three of her singles rubbers in straight sets. In April, Baltacha was the top seed in the $75,000 ITF tournament in Monzón where she reached the quarterfinals before losing to former world number 4, Kimiko Date-Krumm in a close three-set match. Later that month she reached the final of a $25,000 ITF where she faced the number 6 seed, Junri Namigata, and won to give her the sixth ITF singles title of her career.[44] In May she reached the semifinals of a $50,000 ITF in Fukuoka before going on to reach the final round of qualifying for the French Open, where she lost to Yaroslava Shvedova. Between the French Open and Wimbledon, she reached the semifinals of another $50,000 ITF and reached the second round of the International WTA tournament, the Aegon Classic. She beat Georgie Stoop in the first round before falling in an epic three-set battle with the then world number 27, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. She received a wild card into the main draw of Wimbledon in June where she came up against world number 33, Alona Bondarenko, in the first round. Baltacha managed to come back from a set down to win in three sets. She then went on to lose to Kirsten Flipkens in round two.[45]

This was followed by three consecutive losses in the first round of qualifying for WTA events before Baltacha won two matches to qualify for the Rogers Cup, a Premier tournament. She faced former world number 1,Kim Clijsters, in the second tournament of her comeback and lost to the Belgian in straight sets. Following this, she reached the final round of qualifying for the US Open before going on to win the $75,000 ITF inShrewsbury. She beat fellow Brit, Katie O'Brien, in the final. This result was enough to put both finalists into the top 100 for the first time in each of their careers.[46] After this, Baltacha reached the semifinals of one more $50,000 ITF, the second round of a $100,000 ITF (where she had to withdraw due to food poisoning) and the quarterfinals of a $75,000 ITF tournament. These showings helped her accumulate enough points to catapult her back to the British number 1 spot. Her year-end ranking was world number 87.[16]

2010[edit]Edit

[1][2]Baltacha winning her first match at the US Open and breaking into the top 50

Baltacha began her 2010 season by winning three matches to qualify for the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. In the first round of the main draw she was beaten by Ioana Raluca Olaru in straight sets. She then went on to win another three matches to qualify for the Moorilla Hobart International before again losing in the first round, this time to resurgent former world number 4, Jelena Dokić. Her next tournament was the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open. For the first time in her career she was able to gain direct entry into the main draw of the tournament due to her improved ranking. She defeated Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier in the first round. As Baltacha's compatriot, Katie O'Brien, also reached the second round, 2010 marked the first time since 1991 that more than one British woman had reached the second round of the Australian Open. In round two Elena defeated the 30th seed from Ukraine, Kateryna Bondarenko, but she was beaten in the round of 32 by Dinara Safina, the World Number Two. In the doubles tournament she partnered Līga Dekmeijere to reach the second round. In February, Baltacha participated in the Fed Cup where the British team was competing in theEurope/Africa Zone. She played two singles matches, losing against Sybille Bammer and defeating Sandra Martinović from the Austria team and the Bosnia and Herzegovina team respectively. She also partnered Sarah Borwell in two doubles matches, winning both.

Following this performance in the Fed Cup, Elena competed in a $100,000 American ITF tournament in Midland where she reached the final and defeated Lucie Hradecká to win the biggest title of her career. Baltacha then went on to compete in the Cellular South Cup as the 8th seed. She reached the quarterfinals before losing to the top seed and eventual champion, Maria Sharapova. March saw Baltacha qualify for the BNP Paribas Open. After defeating Alexa Glatch in the first round, she faced world number 10, Li Na, in round two and went on to win the match. This gave Elena the first victory of her career over a player ranked in the top-10. Alicia Molik defeated Baltacha in the third round. In her only other tournament during March, Baltacha had to win two matches to qualify for the Sony Ericsson Open before going on to lose to Yanina Wickmayer in the second round of the main tournament. After this, she went on to reach the quarterfinals of a $100,000 ITF tournament in Johannesberg before beginning her clay court season with a loss to Gréta Arn in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, a WTA Premier 5 event. In her final event before the French Open, Baltacha participated in the Internationaux de Strasbourg as the 8th seed but was forced to retire in the second round due to a back injury. In her first round match at the French Open, she was beaten by Agnieszka Radwańska in straight sets.

Her grass court season then began and the Aegon Trophy, a $50,000 ITF event in Nottingham, gave Baltacha the second title of the year. She didn't drop a set throughout the tournament, including in the final when she faced Carly Gullickson. Baltacha stayed on grass for her next tournament, the Aegon Classic, where she was the number 12 seed. She was forced to retire after losing the first set in her first round match againstKaia Kanepi. Her next event was the Aegon International where during her first round match with Li Na, the Chinese player had to retire with a leg injury after winning the first set on a tie-break. After a second-round win over another Chinese player, Zheng Jie, she lost to Sam Stosur in three sets in the quarterfinals. Nevertheless, this was the first time since 1983 that a British woman had progressed to the quarterfinals of this tournament. Baltacha then suffered a disappointing first round loss at Wimbledon. She lost in three sets to Petra Martić after leading by a set and 5–2.

In the lead up to the US Open, Baltacha played in the İstanbul Cup, where she reached the quarterfinals. Along the way she defeated world number 8 and reigning French Open champion, Francesca Schiavone, in straight sets, to give her the best win of her career. She was beaten by Andrea Petkovic in the quarterfinals. Baltacha then lost four of her next five matches before participating in the main draw of the US Open for the first time in her career. She managed to exact some revenge by beating Petra Martić in round one however she lost to Petra Kvitová in the second round. Baltacha competed in four more tournaments that year, reaching the second round of the Hansol Korea Open and a $100,000 ITF in Torhout but losing in the qualifying rounds of the Toray Pan Pacific Open and the Kremlin Cup. She had also been selected to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games but chose not to participate due to the poor sanitation in the athletes' village, which, as a result of her chronic liver problem, may have left her susceptible to picking up infections. Her year-end singles ranking was world number 54.[16]

2011[edit]Edit

[3][4]2011

Baltacha began the year at the 2011 Moorilla Hobart International, but lost to Roberta Vinci in the second round. Baltacha then entered the 2011 Australian Open without having to qualify. In the first round, she defeated American qualifier Jamie Hampton. In round two, however, she was defeated by former world number 1 and 2004 Australian Open Champion Justine Henin. Her next tournament was the 2011 PTT Pattaya Open in Thailand, where she lost to 6th seed Peng Shuai.

Baltacha lost in the first round of the 2011 Dubai Tennis Championships to Alexandra Dulgheru. She then lost in the second round of qualifying at the 2011 Qatar Ladies Open to Klára Zakopalová. In the first round of the 2011 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, Baltacha saved four match points at 2–6, 4–5 in the first round against Roberta Vinci, finally winning in three sets. In the second round she was defeated by 12th seed Flavia Pennetta. In the first round of the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Baltacha defeated Sybille Bammer. However, she was defeated in the second round by Klára Zakopalová, the 32nd seed. After direct acceptance into the main draw of the 2011 French Open, Baltacha defeated American qualifier Sloane Stephens. Due to the previous win by fellow Briton Heather Watson, it was the first time since 1992 that two British women had cleared the first round of the French Open. In the second round, Baltacha drew another American Vania King, who defeated her in three sets. On 12 June, Baltacha won her first tournament of the season, winning the 2011 Aegon Nottingham Challenge without dropping a single set throughout the tournament, defeating Petra Cetkovská in the final.

An improvement on the previous years disappointment, Baltacha reached the second round of Wimbledon, after a victory over Mona Barthel. She failed to progress, however, after losing to the 20th seed, Shuai Pengof China. She went on to enter the qualifying draw of the 2011 Cincinnati Open, but despite being seeded 10th, she lost in the first round against Olga Govortsova. She then went on to the inaugural Texas Tennis Open. She managed first and second round wins over Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová and third seed Julia Görges before a quarterfinal loss to Aravane Rezaï.

Baltacha's next tournament was the US Open, where in the first round Baltacha defeated American wildcard Jamie Hampton. Hampton had to retire unexpectedly due to cramp and dehydration as she collapsed on the base line. She lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round. Her final tournament of the year was the Internationaux Féminins de la Vienne, where she got all the way to the final only to lose to Kimiko Date-Krummin straight sets.

2012[edit]Edit

Baltacha began 2012 playing at the ASB Classic she won her first round match against wild card and home favourite Sacha Jones in a hard fought three set encounter. She eventually lost in the second round in straight sets to Flavia Pennetta. This was followed by a first round loss in the Australian Open to Stéphanie Foretz Gacon.

Baltacha was selected for the GB Fed Cup Team to play in the Europe/Africa Group 1 match in Eilat, Israel on 1–4 February 2012. In the group stages she played singles, defeating opponents from Portugal,[47] the Netherlands[48] and Israel. The team qualified for a play-off against Austria in which Baltacha defeated Tamira Paszek. The team won 2–0, which qualified them for a place in the World Group II promotion play-off in April.[49]

At the French Open, Baltacha faced a tough first round match against US Open champion Sam Stosur on the first match at Court Philippe Chatrier (Centre Court) of the Open. Stosur won without dropping a set. Baltacha did however have a better run at Wimbledon, making the second round but lost to the previous year's champion Petra Kvitová in straight sets. In the first round she had come through a gruelling three setter against Karin Knapp, despite carrying shin splints and picking up an injury during the match. Baltacha competed at the Summer Olympics in London for the first time in her career in both the singles and the doubles events (partnering Anne Keothavong). On 28 July 2012, Baltacha made her Olympics debut with a win against Ágnes Szávay of Hungary, defeating her in straight sets.[50] Baltacha was then defeated by 11th seedAna Ivanovic in the second round in a very tight encounter. This was Baltacha's last professional match of 2012, taking time off to undergo foot surgery.

2013[edit]Edit

[5][6]Baltacha at the 2013 US Open, her last grand slam appearance

Baltacha's first tournament back after surgery was a $25,000 ITF tournament in Pelham, Alabama, where she was a direct entrant into the main draw. She withdrew retired against Canada's Sharon Fichman in round one.

An illness to Heather Watson meant that Baltacha made Great Britain's Fed Cup World Group II play-off team to face Argentina. Baltacha replaced Johanna Konta to play one of the singles rubbers on the final day of the play-off. Laura Robson's defeat in the third rubber meant that Baltacha had to gain a victory over María Irigoyen. Baltacha lost in three sets, meaning that Great Britain would have to return to the Europe/Africa Group and attempt to qualify again next February.

Baltacha was handed a wildcard at the Brussels Open a week before Roland Garros. In the first round she surprisingly defeated Stefanie Vögele but lost to the 7th seeded American Varvara Lepchenko in straight sets. At the 2013 French Open Baltacha used her protected rankings points to earn a place in the first round. She was beaten in straight sets by New Zealand's Marina Erakovic. Following this defeat, Baltacha was handed a wildcard to play at the Aegon Trophy, an ITF event in Nottingham, but again lost in the first round to 6th seed Vesna Dolonc.

Baltacha reached her first final of 2013 at the Aegon Nottingham Challenge following an impressive straight-set victory over Italian Nastassja Burnett in the semi-finals. She then beat the number seven seed Tadeja Majerič in the final in straight sets coming from behind in the first 2–5 down to claim her third title at Nottingham. Baltacha followed this success with a victory in the first round of the Aegon Classic against Czech qualifier Kristyna Pliskova. Baltacha was eliminated in the second round by Maria Kirilenko. Baltacha retired from tennis in November 2013.[51]

Baltacha died of liver cancer on 4 May 2014.[52]

ITF circuit finals[edit]Edit

Singles (11–3)[edit]Edit

Finals by category
$100,000 tournaments (2/1)
$75,000 tournaments (2/0)
$50,000 tournaments (2/0)
$25,000 tournaments (5/2)
$10,000 tournaments (0/0)
Finals by surface
Hard (7/3)
Clay (0/0)
Grass (4/0)
Carpet (0/0)
Result Date Category Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Winner 8 July 2002 ITF $25,000 Felixstowe, United Kingdom Grass [7]

Kelly Liggan

4–6, 6–2, 6–3
Winner 22 July 2002 ITF $25,000 Pamplona, Spain Hard (i) [8]

Virginie Pichet

6–2, 6–1
Runner-up 20 September 2004 ITF $25,000 Jersey, United Kingdom Hard (i) [9]

Emma Laine

6–3, 2–6, 1–6
Runner-up 9 February 2005 ITF $25,000 Redbridge, United Kingdom Hard (i) [10]

Nika Ožegović

0–6, 3–6
Winner 12 October 2005 ITF $25,000 Jersey, United Kingdom Hard (i) [11]

Daniela Kix

4–6, 4–6
Winner 26 March 2008 ITF $25,000 Jersey, United Kingdom Hard (i) [12]

Ana Vrljić

6–1, 6–3
Winner 1 April 2008 ITF $75,000 Torhout, Belgium Hard (i) [13]

Iveta Benešová

6–7(5–7), 6–1, 6–4
Winner 21 April 2009 ITF $25,000 Changwon, Korea Hard [14]

Junri Namigata

6–3, 6–1
Winner 22 September 2009 ITF $75,000 Shrewsbury, United Kingdom Hard (i) [15]

Katie O'Brien

6–3, 4–6, 6–3
Winner 9 February 2010 ITF $100,000 Midland, United States Hard (i) [16]

Lucie Hradecká

5–7, 6–2, 6–3
Winner 31 May 2010 ITF $50,000 Nottingham, United Kingdom Grass [17]

Carly Gullickson

6–2, 6–2
Winner 12 June 2011 ITF $100,000+H Nottingham, United Kingdom Grass [18]

Petra Cetkovská

7–5, 6–3
Runner-up 30 October 2011 ITF $100,000 Poitiers, France Hard (i) [19]

Kimiko Date-Krumm

6–7(3–7), 4–6
Winner 16 June 2013 ITF $50,000 Nottingham, United Kingdom Grass [20]

Tadeja Majerič

7–5, 7–6(9–7)

Doubles (4–4)[edit]Edit

Finals by category
$100,000 tournaments (0/0)
$75,000 tournaments (0/0)
$50,000 tournaments (0/0)
$25,000 tournaments (4/3)
$10,000 tournaments (0/1)
Finals by surface
Hard (4/2)
Clay (0/1)
Grass (0/1)
Carpet (0/0)
Result Date Category Tournament Surface Partnering Opponent Score
Runner-up 30 April 2001 ITF $10,000 Hatfield, United Kingdom Clay [21]

Nicola Trinder

[22]

Natalia Egorova [23]Ekaterina Sysoeva

3–6, 6–4, 1–6
Winner 15 July 2002 ITF $25,000 Valladolid, Spain Hard [24]

Natacha Randriantefy

[25]

Leanne Baker [26]Manisha Malhotra

6–2, 6–3
Winner 22 July 2002 ITF $25,000 Pamplona, Spain Hard (i) [27]

Kelly Liggan

[28]

Yvonne Doyle [29]Susanne Trik

6–7(6–7), 7–6(7–1), 6–3
Winner 11 October 2004 ITF $25,000 Sunderland, United Kingdom Hard (i) [30]

Jane O'Donoghue

[31]

Eva Fislová [32]Stanislava Hrozenská

6–1, 4–6, 6–2
Winner 22 September 2005 ITF $25,000 Glasgow, United Kingdom Hard (i) [33]

Margit Rüütel

[34]

Anne Keothavong [35]Karen Paterson

6–3, 6–7(2–7), 6–2
Runner-up 21 March 2006 ITF $25,000 Redding, United States Hard [36]

Yevgenia Savransky

[37]

Vasilisa Bardina [38]Ahsha Rolle

7–5, 5–7, 4–6
Runner-up 4 June 2007 ITF $25,000 Surbiton, United Kingdom Grass [39]

Naomi Cavaday

[40]

Karen Paterson [41]Melanie South

1–6, 4–6
Runner-up 21 April 2009 ITF $25,000 Changwon, Korea Hard [42]

Amanda Elliott

[43]

Chang Kai-Chen [44]Chen Yi

4–6, 1–6

Performance timelines[edit]Edit

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR LQ (Q#) A P Z# PO SF-B F S G NMS NH

Won tournament; or reached Final; Semifinal; Quarter-final; Round 4, 3, 2, 1; competed at a Round Robin stage; lost in Qualification Round; absent from tournament event; played in a Davis Cup Zonal Group (with its number indication) or Play-off; won a bronze, silver (F or S) or gold medal at the Olympics; a downgraded Masters Series/1000 tournament (Not a Masters Series); or a tournament that was Not Held in a given year.

To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated either at the conclusion of a tournament, or when the player's participation in the tournament has ended.

Singles[edit]Edit

Updated after 2013 season

Tournament 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 SR W–L Win %
Grand Slam Tournaments
Australian Open A A 1R A 3R LQ A LQ 2R 3R 2R 1R A 0 / 6 6–6 50%
French Open A A LQ A LQ LQ A LQ LQ 1R 2R 1R 1R 0 / 4 1–4 20%
Wimbledon 1R 3R 1R 2R 1R A 1R 2R 2R 1R 2R 2R 1R 0 / 12 7–12 37%
US Open LQ LQ A LQ LQ A LQ LQ LQ 2R 2R A A 0 / 2 2–2 50%
Win–Loss 0–1 2–1 0–2 1–1 2–2 0–0 0–1 1–1 2–2 3–4 4–4 1–3 0–2 0 / 24 16–24 40%
Olympic Games
Summer Olympics Not Held A Not Held A Not Held 2R NH 0 / 1 1–1 50%
Year-End Championship
WTA Tour Championships A 0 / 0 0–0 0%
WTA Premier Mandatory Tournaments
Indian Wells A 3R 2R 2R A 0 / 3 4–3 57%
Miami A LQ A LQ 2R 2R 1R A 0 / 3 2–3 40%
Madrid Not Held A 0 / 0 0–0 0%
Beijing Not Tier I A 0 / 0 0–0 0%
WTA Premier 5 Tournaments
Dubai Not Tier I A 1R NP5 0 / 1 0–1 0%
Rome A LQ A LQ A 0 / 0 0–0 0%
Cincinnati Not Tier I LQ A 0 / 0 0–0 0%
Canada A 1R LQ A 0 / 1 0–1 0%
Tokyo A 0 / 0 0–0 0%
Titles–Finals 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0
Year End Ranking 242 157 373 202 122 347 187 136 89 55 50 172 220 $1,190,893

Doubles[edit]Edit

Tournament 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Career Win-Loss
Australian Open A A A A A A A A A 2R A A 1–1
French Open A A A A A A A A A A A A 0–0
Wimbledon 1R 1R 1R 1R 2R A 1R 1R 1R 2R A 1R 2–10
US Open A A A A A A A A A A A A 0–0
Year-end ranking 405 262 490 355 246 508 365 961 648 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Mixed doubles[edit]Edit

Tournament 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Career Win-Loss
Australian Open A A A A A A A A A A 0–0
French Open A A A A A A A A A A 0–0
Wimbledon 3R 1R A 1R A A 1R 2R 2R 2R 5–7
US Open A A A A A A A A A A 0–0

Fed Cup[edit]Edit

Europe/Africa Group II
Date Venue Surface Round Opponents Final match score Match Opponent Rubber score
09–13 April 2002 Pretoria Hard RR Malta 3–0 Doubles (with Julie Pullin) Dimech/Wetz 6–0, 6–1 (W)
Norway 3–0 Singles Annette Aksdal 6–0, 6–1 (W)
PO

(Promotion)

Lithuania 2–0 Singles Lina Stančiūtė 4–6, 6–2, 6–2 (W)
Europe/Africa Group I
21–26 April 2003 Estoril Clay RR Ireland 2–1 Doubles (with Julie Pullin) Curran/Liggan 6–3, 6–2 (W)
Poland 2–1 Doubles (with Julie Pullin) Domachowska/Bieleń-Żarska 6–4, 7–6(7–5) (W)
Hungary 0–3 Singles Petra Mandula 1–6, 3–6 (L)
PO

(Relegation)

Netherlands 1–2 Doubles (with Julie Pullin) Boogert/Oremans 3–6, 4–6 (L)
Europe/Africa Group II
26 Apr –

1 May 2004

Marsa Hard RR Egypt 3–0 Doubles (with Jane O'Donoghue) Farid/Mohsen 6–0, 6–3 (W)
Turkey 3–0 Singles Cigdem Duru 6–1, 6–0 (W)
Doubles (with Jane O'Donoghue) Büyükakçay/Özgen 6–0, 6–3 (W)
Romania 2–1 Singles Monica Niculescu 6–1, 6–4 (W)
PO

(Promotion)

Ireland 2–0 Singles Yvonne Doyle 6–1, 7–5 (W)
Europe/Africa Group I
20–23 April 2005 Antalya Clay RR Slovenia 0–3 Singles Katarina Srebotnik 1–6, 1–6 (L)
Doubles (with Jane O'Donoghue) Klepač/Križan 1–6, 4–6 (L)
Denmark 2–1 Singles Karina Ildor Jacobsgaard 6–3, 7–5 (W)
 Serbia and Montenegro 1–2 Singles Ana Timotić 7–5, 3–6, 0–6 (L)
PO

(9th–12th)

Ukraine 1–2 Singles Alona Bondarenko 1–6, 3–6 (L)
18–22 April 2006 Plovdiv Clay RR Ukraine 3–0 Singles Valeria Bondarenko 6–3, 6–0 (W)
Doubles (with Claire Curran) Antypina/V.Bondarenko 6–4, 6–4 (W)
Bulgaria 2–1 Singles Dimana Krastevitch 6–3, 6–1 (W)
Doubles (with Claire Curran) Krastevitch/Pironkova 6–1, 1–6, 6–2 (W)
Hungary 2–1 Singles Kyra Nagy 6–1, 6–2 (W)
Doubles (with Claire Curran) Nagy/Németh 6–1, 7–6(7–5) (W)
PO

(1st–4th)

Slovakia 1–2 Singles Magdaléna Rybáriková 5–7, 3–6 (L)
Doubles (with Claire Curran) Cibulková/Husárová 6–4, 6–3 (W)
18–21 April 2007 Plovdiv Clay RR Bulgaria 3–0 Singles Dia Evtimova 4–6, 6–4, 8–6 (W)
Doubles (with Claire Curran) Alawi/Mladenova 6–4, 6–2 (W)
Luxembourg 1–2 Doubles (with Claire Curran) Kremer/Philippe 6–4, 3–6, 6–3 (W)
Poland 0–3 Singles Marta Domachowska 1–6, 4–6 (L)
Doubles (with Claire Curran) Domachowska/A.Radwańska 3–6, 4–6 (L)
PO

(9th–12th)

Sweden 0–3 Doubles (with Claire Curran) Andersson/Larsson 0–6, 1–6 (L)
30 Jan –

01 Feb 2008

Budapest Carpet (i) RR   Switzerland 1–2 Doubles (with Melanie South) Gagliardi/Schnyder 3–6, 3–6 (L)
Hungary 1–2 Doubles (with Melanie South) Arn/Szávay 2–6, 2–6 (L)
Denmark 1–2 Doubles (with Anne Keothavong) Dyrberg/Wozniacki 3–6, 2–6 (L)
04–07 Feb 2009 Tallin Carpet (i) RR Hungary 3–0 Singles Gréta Arn 7–5, 6–3 (W)
Netherlands 3–0 Singles Michelle Gerards 6–2, 6–4 (W)
PO

(Promotion)

Poland 1–2 Singles Katarzyna Piter 6–4, 6–1 (W)
03–05 Feb 2010 Lisbon Hard (i) RR  Bosnia and Herzegovina 3–0 Singles Sandra Martinović 6–1, 6–1 (W)
Doubles (with Sarah Borwell) Husarić/Martinović 6–2, 6–4 (W)
Austria 0–3 Singles Sybille Bammer 3–6, 3–6 (L)
Belarus 2–1 Doubles (with Sarah Borwell) Govortsova/Poutchek 3–6, 7–5, 6–2 (W)
05 Feb 2011 Eilat Hard PO

(5th–8th)

Croatia 2–0 Singles Ajla Tomljanović 6–1, 6–1 (W)
01–04 Feb 2012 Eilat Hard RR Portugal 3–0 Singles Michelle Larcher de Brito 6–2, 6–3 (W)
Netherlands 2–1 Singles Michaëlla Krajicek 6–3, 6–3 (W)
Israel 3–0 Singles Shahar Pe'er 6–4, 6–3 (W)
PO

(Promotional)

Austria 2–0 Singles Tamira Paszek 6–1, 6–4 (W)
World Group II (Play Offs)
21–22 April 2012 Borås Hard (i) PO

(Promotional)

Sweden 1–4 Singles Johanna Larsson 1–6, 5–7 (L)
Doubles (with Heather Watson) Allgurin/Melander 7–6(7–3), 6–1 (W)
20–21 April 2013 Buenos Aires Clay PO

(Promotional)

Argentina 1–3 Singles María Irigoyen 5–7, 6–3, 1–6 (L)

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