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British No 1 Elena Baltacha has dropped out of the ITF Women’s event in France after losing 6-3, 6-1 to French player Pauline Parmentier in the semi-finals.
The Briton had been enjoying an impressive tournament knocking out world No 60 Kristina Barrois in the quarter-finals despite a lack of experience on clay. “I’ve never been in a clay court semi-final before and this means a lot,” said Baltacha before she headed on to the court to play Parmentier.
Twenty five-year-old Parmentier will now play Sorana Cirstea (ROU) for the title.
View the draw - $100k Cagnes Sur Mer
British No.1 Elena Baltacha is through to her first clay-court semi-final after a 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 win over Kristina Barrois at the 14eme Open GDF Suez in Cagnes Sur Mer, France, a $100,000 ITF tournament.
Baltacha, currently ranked had never reached a quarter-final of any senior clay-court event before this week. This week forms part of her preparation for Roland Garros, which begins on 22 May.
Elena Baltacha commented on making her first clay-court semi-final
"It’s a big win for me because I’ve never been in a clay court semi-final before and this means a lot. I’ve definitely had a few hang-ups about clay in the past and I’ve probably never taken the preparation seriously before.
"The two weeks I spent in Spain at the La Manga Club (last month) helped me a lot. That time was very relaxed because my family came over, but at the same time it was hard work and I think it helped changed the way I look at playing on clay.
"I might not always play a traditional clay court game but I’m not just going out there and blasting balls left, right and centre any more. I’m using my head a lot better and I’m finding out what works and how I can hurt people on this stuff. I don’t think I really understood how to do that before."
On the match Bally said, "She was a break up in the second set but I played smart and stayed calm. I think she might have got a big frustrated. I was really calm and really patient, which is something I've never have been able to say in previous years I've played on clay. I stayed relaxed, I was calm and I used my experience and that was really, really important today. I’m beginning to do that on all surfaces. I think I’m finally starting to use my age in a really positive way and it’s working for me."
The British No.1, and world 91, will play either Zhuang Shuai or Pauline Parmentier in Saturday's semi-finals.
British No.1 Elena Baltacha reached the first clay-court quarter-final of her career on Wednesday after beating Vesna Dolonts 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the second round of the ITF $100,000 event in Cagnes sur Mer, France.
The world No.91 will now play either world number 60 and top seed Kristina Barrois or Anastasia Yakimova in the quarter-finals.
"I'm really, really pleased with the win today, especially playing a good young prospect who made the third round at the Australian Open this year. She has a very good quality clay game. This is my first ever quarter-finals on clay, which makes my win even more satisfying.
"This performance gives me great confidence as I'm obviously not known as a clay player. I prepared well though (at La Manga Club in Spain) and I'm getting more confident on it. This is really good preparation for the upcoming tournaments in Strasbourg and Roland Garros."
Heather Watson will bid to join Baltacha in the last eight when she plays Italian Maria-Elena Camerin in round two on Thursday.
The winner of the match will play Anastasia Pivovarova of Russia for a place in the semi-finals.
British No.1 Elena Baltacha got her first clay-court win of 2011 with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 victory over American Jill Craybas in round one of the ITF $100k Open GDF Suez in Cagnes Sur Mer, France.
"I'm absolutely delighted with my win today. I played a very experienced player and a very tough competitor. I knew I would have to play some high quality and aggressive tennis to break down her game and I felt I did that.
"Clay is a challenge for me but I put in some hard work in at the La Manga Club in Spain before I started playing tournaments and it's great to see it paying off. This win has given me lots of confidence going into the next match and the rest of the clay court season."
The 27 year-old now plays Russian world No.112 Vesna Dolonts in their first career meeting.
Eighth seed Anne Keothavong lost out 6-3, 6-4 to Anna Tatishvili of Georgia in round one and will now focus on the doubles where she partners Australia's Jessica Moore.
Meanwhile Heather Watson is in singles first round action on Tuesday as she takes on Russian qualifier Valeria Savinykh. Watson went out in round one of the doubles after drawing the top seeds in round one. The Briton and Sorana Cirstea were beaten 6-3, 6-3 by Jurak (CRO) & Voracova (CZE).