Baltacha loses inside an hour at French Open

FORMER British No1 Elena Baltacha was eliminated from the French Open in 56 minutes yesterday, after suffering a heavy first round defeat to Marian Erakovic on a rain-disrupted day at Roland Garros.

The New Zealander, ranked 108 places above world No200 Baltacha, won 6-3 6-0 in the final match of the day on court six.

Ukrainian-born Baltacha pondered retirement last year following ankle surgery, but has recently returned to the court after an eight-month layoff and made the perfect start by breaking Erakovic’s serve and holding for a 2-0 lead.

But the 29-year-old quickly lost the impetus, losing five games in a row and wasted three break points when Erakovic served for the first set, before surrendering spectacularly in the second.

On a day of limited action, home favourite Marion Bartoli beat Olga Govortsova 7-6 4-6 7-5 and ninth seed Sam Stosur breezed past 42-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan 6-0 6-2.

In the men’s draw, No1 seed Novak Djokovic defeated David Goffin in straight sets, 7-6 6-4 7-5, while Tommy Haas made light work of Frenchman Guillaume Rufin, winning 7-6 6-1 6-3.

“It was not easy,” said Djokovic, bidding to win his first French Open title. “David is a good player with a lot of talent and a lot of aggressiveness.

“I love this Grand Slam and I really want to do well here.”

World No48 Heather Watson, now the only remaining British hope, was also due to make her Grand Slam comeback following a bout of glandular fever, but her match with Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele fell victim to the weather.

Watson is set to be first on court six when play resumes this morning where defeat would leave Britain without a second round representative for the first time in six years.

The second round matches are set to begin today too, with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga due to meet Jarkko Nieminen, fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils is set to take on Ernests Gulbis and Serena Williams closes the action on Court Phillippe Chatrier against another home hope, Caroline Garcia.