LONDON - Elena Baltacha, a former top-50 professional tennis player who had been fighting liver cancer since retiring from the g

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LONDON - Elena Baltacha, a former top-50 professional tennis player who had been fighting liver cancer since retiring from the game, died Sunday. Christian Covington Jersey . She was 30. The former British No. 1 died peacefully surrounded by family and friends, the Womens Tennis Association said on its website. The Kyiv-born Baltacha, who represented Britain at the 2012 London Olympics, was diagnosed with the illness in January, two months after retiring from tennis and only weeks after she married her long-time coach Nino Severino. "We are heartbroken beyond words at the loss of our beautiful, talented and determined Bally," Severino said in a statement. "She was an amazing person and she touched so many people with her inspirational spirit, her warmth and her kindness." Baltacha was born into a sporting family. Father Sergei played football for Dynamo Kyiv and English club Ipswich, and won a bronze medal for the Soviet Union at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Mother Olga represented the Soviet Union in the pentathlon. After being diagnosed with a chronic liver condition aged 19, Baltacha dealt with illness throughout her career, receiving medication and regular blood tests. "Elenas journey was never an easy one and yet she consistently showed her strength, good humour and indomitable spirit," WTA chairman Stacey Allaster said. Her best ranking was 49th in 2010, and she reached the third round at Grand Slam tournaments three times — at Wimbledon in 2002, and at the Australian Open in 2005 and 2010. Ankle problems eventually forced her to retire in November, and she had hoped to use her experience to develop the next generation of British players. "We have lost a shining light from the heart of British tennis - a true role model, a great competitor and a wonderful friend," former Fed Cup coach Iain Bates said. "We have so many special memories to cherish, but this leaves a gaping hole for everybody in both British and womens tennis, and words simply cannot express how saddened we are by this news." Baltacha had already planned a tennis charity event in June, "Rally for Bally," to raise money for a cancer hospital and her tennis academy. It will go ahead in her memory, with competitors including childhood friend Andy Murray, Martina Navratilova and Tim Henman. "Bally was such a caring human being, always putting others before herself, and a warm, fun person," the WTAs Allaster said. "A shining example of her commitment to looking out for the welfare of others is the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, which she established so that children from disadvantaged backgrounds could learn to play the game she loved so dearly." Whitney Mercilus Jersey . Villarreals victory in Valencia kept it in fourth place and in control of Spains last Champions League spot. Uche broke free in the area in the 10th minute and was brought down by goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who was shown a direct red card. Tyrann Mathieu Jersey . The Toronto Argonauts signed the veteran linebacker to a three-year deal Tuesday, hours after the start of CFL free agency. http://www.officialhoustontexansfootball.com/authentic-braxton-miller-jersey-womens . -- Canadian ski cross star Marielle Thompson accomplished two goals in one race Saturday.Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Awtaad is likely to sidestep the Derby and head for the St Jamess Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Kevin Prendergasts colt claimed his fourth win from five starts with a magnificent display at the Curragh, seeing off Galileo Gold, winner of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.The veteran trainer said in the immediate aftermath he felt his Cape Cross colt was capable of stepping up in distance, but Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, expects him to remain at a mile for the time being. Gold said: It was a fantastic result and Im so happy for Kevin, for all his team and Chris Hayes.Kevin has been training for Sheikh Hamdan for many years without having much joy, so Im thrilled for him to get a horse like this at this time of his life. Hes an incredible man.I think we knew he was a very nice horse, but its always hard to equate the English form against the Irish form.I dont think there was any fluke about it. He wasnt a lucky winner - I think he won it fair and square.I had a brief chat wiith Kevin and Sheikh Hamdan last night. Kendall Lamm Jersey. My gut reaction, which I think Sheikh Hamdan shared, would be to go for the St Jamess Palace.The Derby is a lovely idea, but youd be going up a considerable amount of distance in a short space of time.Im sure he would get further as he has a wonderful temperament, but he looks a high-class miler to me and after beating the English 2000 Guineas winner, I think youd be hard pushed not to go to Ascot.Hopefully hes going to be a stallion for the stud and hed look an even more attractive proposition if he were to win the St Jamess Palace.Well see how he is and talk about it during the week, but I think well be staying at a mile for the immediate future.Bookmakers Sky Bet are trading on the St Jamess Palace Stakes and quote Awtaad at 3/1 behind 11/8 favourite The Gurkha, with Galileo Gold 9/2 to exert revenge over Awtaad. 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