British women bowled over
Anne Keothavong, Mel South, and Katie OBrien all lost first round matches at the Australian Open on Monday, leaving Elena Baltacha as the only female Brit left in the Australian Open draw.
In fiercely hot conditions, Keothavong lost 6-1, 6-7(4), 6-1 to 17th seeded Russian Anna Chakvetadze.
Tennishead blogger Keothavong, who needed treatment from the trainer midway through the match, showed her fighting spirit by taking the second set tie-break but she couldn’t stay with the Russian in the deciding set.
South, who was up against former grand-slam finalist Marion Bartoli from France, had chances to cause an upset.
Despite a slightly one-sided 6-2, 6-4 scoreline, South got herself into good positions in both sets.
The British No.2 failed to convert break points in the third game of the match and then raced to a 4-1 lead in the second set.
OBriens debut main draw appearance in Melbourne resulted in a straight sets 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Romanian Monica Niculescu. O’Brien admitted that the sweltering conditions proved tough to cope with.
“It was about 15 degrees warmer than it was in qualifying,” the Yorkshirewoman said. “I was over-hitting a little bit because the ball was flying that much more.
Baltacha, the final Brit left in the draw, will hope to do better against Germany’s Anna-Lena Groenefeld on Tuesday.
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