Baltacha battles through
Elena Baltacha came through a battle of the walking wounded on Court 18 on Tuesday to secure a first-round win over Karin Knapp.
The 28-year-old Briton, who was today handed a wildcard place for the Olympics, saw off her Italian opponent 4-6 6-4 6-0 after a match littered with medical time-outs.
It had first looked as though Baltacha would win through retirement, with Knapp requiring lengthy treatment after a fall early in the second set.
But then, after Knapp returned and failed to stop her opponent levelling at one set apiece, Baltacha, the world number 101, asked for treatment herself.
She was the stronger player in the third set, though, and broke serve three times to tee-up a second-round meeting with defending champion Petra Kvitova.
Appearing at Wimbledon for the 11th time and already buoyed by her Olympics news, Baltacha started the better of the two players and took the first break in the fifth game, forcing Knapp to hit a backhand off the court.
With momentum in her favour it was therefore surprising to see her surrender her advantage in a marathon eighth game. She had already saved two break points on deuce and squandered three match points of her own when she planted a forehand wide, letting Knapp in to level, with the 24-year-old quickly breaking again to take the set.
The second set started with Baltacha pinning a forehand to the corner that Knapp reached for but could not get, causing her to fall to the floor.
She was clearly in some pain and was treated for almost 20 minutes but, to her credit, she returned, albeit only to fall to a 6-4 loss.
Baltacha offered Knapp hope at the end of the set, though, asking for medical attention herself, only to shake off whatever the problem was and break three times in a row to take the match.