Nottingham glory for Baltacha

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Elena Baltacha stepped up her Wimbledon preparations by triumphing in the final of the AEGON Nottingham Challenge yesterday.

The British number one completed a successful week by beating Czech player Petra Cetkovska 7-5 6-3 in the final of the 100,000 US dollars tournament.

Because of heavy rain, the match had to be moved from the outside grass surface to an indoor court, but the switch did not trouble world number 74 Baltacha.

She collected the trophy and the top prize of 15,200 US dollars - £9,400 - for her 10th career title at ITF level, the tier below the main WTA Tour.

Baltacha returns to WTA Tour action in the coming week, competing at the AEGON International in Eastbourne where she faces a first-round clash with Aravane Rezai of France.

Baltacha had claimed a fine win over 41st-ranked Lucie Hradecka earlier in the tournament, and pulled clear once she got ahead against world number 92 Cetkovska today.

“It’s great to win a title this big, especially playing at home,” Baltacha said. “It makes it even more special.

“The decision to go indoors was made pretty quickly and, to be honest, I felt like I had a better chance going indoors, so none of that bothered me at all.

“This is everything I could have hoped for from this week. I have had enough preparation on the grass going into Eastbourne and my form has been solid all week. I couldn’t ask for more going into Eastbourne and Wimbledon.”