Keothavong and Baltacha reach Aussie Open second round

BRITISH tennis received a welcome boost at the Australian Open with both Elena Baltacha and Anna Keothavong earning first round victories.

Keothavong reached the second round for the first time after overcoming Russian Arina Rodionova 7-5, 6-4.

Fellow Brit Baltacha came from a set down to beat American Jamie Hampton 3-6,6-4,7-5.

Keothavong will now play German Andrea Petkovic in the second round and could face Venus Williams if victorious.

Meanwhile, Baltacha faces 11th seed Justin Henin who struggled to a three-set win against India's Sania Mirza.

Despite the daunting task ahead Baltacha remained upbeat: "I think I've got to believe I've got a chance, otherwise there's no point playing.

"The chances are probably slim, but I'm going to go out there and fire, I've got nothing to lose."

Keothavong was equally pleased. She said: "The conditiions were tough, but it's a great feeling to get through. I had a great off-season and just want to get out there and enjoy it."

Both players will play their second-round ties on Wednesday with Baltacha hoping to pull off a major upset and Keothavong attempting to set up a mouth watering clash with world No 5 Williams.