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September 1, 2010

Elena Baltacha


P. KVITOVA/E. Baltacha
7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That seemed a very tight match with not a lot in it. What was the difference in the end?
ELENA BALTACHA: Uhm, she had more firepower, uhm, and then she, especially in the second set, really started firing. Then my first-serve percentage got worse. I was serving pretty good in the first. I think that was really the difference.
I felt pretty comfortable. I knew going into the match that she doesn't do a lot of rallying. It's pretty much winner, you know, or -- I mean, there's not a lot of rallying going on. So I knew what to expect.
I actually felt pretty comfortable. I felt, you know, I defended well, but it was just the serve. It was just her return. I gave her too many second serves in the second set.

Q. You must feel you're playing, despite the loss, well at the moment?
ELENA BALTACHA: I feel I'm playing well, yeah. I really think I've improved. My defense -- I felt I defended really well.
By the end, I really just had to scramble, I felt like, just fight for every point, try to pick a corner, try and defend, and hopefully she will miss. But she really did step it up.

Q. Regardless of today's result, you're top 50, thereabouts. If it is confirmed, what will that mean for you?
ELENA BALTACHA: It really will be very special. Obviously, it would have been really nice to win and get into the 50. But I know it depends on the girls around me, whether they defend their points here. Depends what they do.
There is a chance I might be top 50. We'll have to see after the tournament.

Q. How long has that been a goal for you?
ELENA BALTACHA: It kind of came really quickly, because obviously the end of last year I broke the top 100. Like January I remember talking about trying to stay inside the top 100, not to drop out.
I reckon it was probably after Indian Wells, you know, my ranking really shot up. I made 52. It was like, Oh, my gosh, four months later we were talking about top 100, and now we're talking about top 50.
So pretty much since after Indian Wells that was our goal.

Q. It obviously means something in terms of getting into tournaments and things like that. Is it almost more of a psychological thing, I'm one of the top 50 players in the world? Is that what it means in that sense?
ELENA BALTACHA: Yeah, of course. I mean, I really believe that I am a top-50 player. I'm practically on the borderline now of top 50. I know that to break the top 50 you can do that, but then you've got to stay there.
I know that I'll have to improve. But I think I'm on my way now. I really do think my match, the first round here today, it does show me and it gives me more confidence that I am actually getting better now.

Q. Does today's match show you, again, some of the areas where you have to step up? The power she possesses...
ELENA BALTACHA: She got to the semis of Wimbledon. She was on fire. It's very difficult when someone is hitting the ball that sweetly. You know, it's not kind of like she goes one side. I mean, she practically uses the whole court very well.
The biggest thing that it showed me, well two things it showed me. One, how much I've improved scrambling trying to stay in the points when I do have an opportunity to try to take hold of it.
The other thing is my serve needs to get better. I talked about how we changed our serve after Wimbledon. I think that was a really good decision. Uhm, you know, my back, I haven't had any problems - touch wood - with my back since changing, but there still needs to be work.
The ball toss kind of comes and goes. We really need to look at that.

Q. You spoke before about getting in the top 100. Where do you think you could go? Is it smaller steps because of how difficult it is to get in the top 50?
ELENA BALTACHA: I think the way that I like to approach it is baby steps. I think sometimes when you get kind of too ahead of yourself you kind of lose the reason, you know, why you're kind of doing it. And it does, you kind of start feeling, you know, a lot of expectation. You put a lot of expectation on yourself.
So I like to take it kind of -- really, I mean, even from a day-to-day basis. You know, wake up, hopefully the back hasn't gone, you know, I can move, then warm up, get on court, practice. Yup, survived that, that was great.
My schedule, I'm trying to do the best I can. If I win, that's great, points. You know, so just really trying kind of to take baby steps. I think that is definitely the best approach.

Q. The situation that Anne finds herself in, she says, I'm not the same player; I'm not there yet. When you have this opportunity, does it increase the need to grab it?
ELENA BALTACHA: Yeah, I've been in two situations. The first one was obviously with my liver, when I found out I had a liver condition. I mean, that was really difficult coming back, take six months and coming back from that. Then obviously with the back.
You know, it's very difficult for Anne, because you don't get top 50 just like that. You know, she was a very good player. She's still a very good player. I think sometimes when you want something so badly, sometimes maybe you don't see it for what it is, you know, instead of, you know, being patient and really just trying to accept it for what it is.
You know, I had the same thing with my back. I started back when I was I think about 900 in the world. I had to start from like qualifying in 25s. That wasn't pleasant.
But, you know, Anne is a tough cookie. Anne's a good player. I really hope she gets through it.
But, you know, these kind of situations I realize, as well, either it makes you or it breaks you. And I do believe that Anne will come out of it and she will get back up there.

Q. What are your plans singles-wise after this?
ELENA BALTACHA: My next tournament is going to be Seoul, then Tokyo, then Commonwealth Games, which I'm really looking forward to. I'm representing Scotland. I remember I played in the 2000 juniors. I remember it was amazing. So I'm really looking forward.

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