Baltacha blasts Brit critics after bowing out

BRITISH No2 Elena Baltacha hit back at critics who have lambasted the country&rsquo;s dearth of achievement after her second-round defeat ended home interest in the Wimbledon women&rsquo;s singles title.<br /><br />Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe called for funding to be reassessed after all of Britain&rsquo;s top players &ndash; Baltacha and men&rsquo;s third seed Andy Murray aside &ndash; fell at the first hurdle at SW19. And after following them out of the tournament with a 7-5, 6-1 defeat to Belgium&rsquo;s Kirsten Flipkens, Baltacha defended her contemporaries, insisting they had done enough in recent months to deserve funding.<br /><br />&ldquo;If you look at how the girls have actually done through the year, I don&rsquo;t think anyone&rsquo;s budget should get cut for that,&rdquo; said the 25-year-old.<br /><br />&ldquo;People think everything revolves around Wimbledon but it&rsquo;s just one week of the year for us. All the girls&rsquo; rankings have gone up. It&rsquo;s the most exciting it&rsquo;s been for years.&rdquo;<br /><br />Elsewhere Venus Williams stayed on course for a third successive women&rsquo;s title with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Ukrainian Kateryna Bondarenko. Top seed Dinara Safina progressed by beating Rossana De Los Rios, while former world No1 Ana Ivanovic and sixth seed Jelena Jankovic also won.<br /><br />ORDER OF PLAY DAY FIVE<br /><br />CENTRE COURT (1PM START)<br />P Kohlschreiber v R Federer 2<br />V Azarenka v S Cirstea 28<br />M Fish v N Djokovic 4<br />COURT ONE (1PM START)<br />R Kulikova v E Dementieva 4<br />I Karlovic 22 v JW Tsonga 9<br />T Haas 24 v M Cilic 11