Simon Reed

Baltacha bulldozing towards top 50

Simon Reed

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Confidence has obviously been a factor for a huge part of her career. Because of injuries, leading to a lack of practice and lack of match play, she didn't have it; and in the last year she's found it.

She has a good game: she's a big server, has a huge forehand, and if she keeps the confidence level as it is, there's no reason why she shouldn't be a top-50 player within a few weeks.

She won her first Miami qualifier and is getting ready to play again: I expect her to get to the main draw in Florida.

She's on a roll at the moment and it will take a very good player to beat her, wherever she's playing. Whoever they are, they are going to have to be on their top game or they'll be in severe trouble.

How far she can go in Miami depends on how the draw shakes up; with a decent draw she could go deep into the tournament.

Katie O'Brien is also still in the qualifying draw, but she has got fewer weapons than Elena. She's playing well and her confidence is high, but compared with Elena, she has more limited horizons. But there's no reason why she shouldn't go deep into the world's top 100.

Ivan Ljubicic shocked everyone by winning the Indian Wells Masters last weekend. I think the difference is that he is concentrating more on his tennis now.

He was more involved in the political side of tennis - he's on the men's council - and I think that distracted him a little bit. He got up to number three in the world three or four years ago, but then took his eye off the ball a little bit - subconsciously rather than consciously.

Even given that he is now more focused on his game, I was very surprised by what happened. It was a huge win to beat Rafael Nadal, and three top-10 players in all - Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick were the others - especially with Nadal playing well. Nadal said afterwards the result was an accident.

He's a super guy, too. I have to say I had him down as past his sell-by date; but I don't expect him to begin challenging for Grand Slams. At Roland Garros he'll be tough to beat - he got to the semi-finals there once before - but this is his time now, this part of the season.

I'd be surprised if he went past the quarter-final stage at a Grand Slam, but he did surprise me at Indian Wells - so who knows?

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