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LTA WEBSITE - 11/12/2006


British No.2 Mel South lost her first round match in Dubai on Monday but says she is ready for hard work ahead of 2007.

The Surrey 20-year-old went down 6-3, 6-2 to Finnish second seed Emma Laine in a rain-interrupted match at the $75,000 ITF event.

South began well against the world No.74 before some decisive errors crept into her game.

Mel has had a very good year in terms of improvement and her ranking with a jump from around 400 to 167.

LTA coach Lucie Ahl

“I felt I played well today, I just made too many errors on the big points and didn't take the chances I created,” South said.

“Emma is a very consistent player and forces you to go for more than you should.

“I need to get myself in the position to play girls of this level all the time and keep telling myself to trust my game and believe.”

Despite the defeat, South’s coach Lucie Ahl said they will look back on 2006 as an excellent year when South made a considerable jump up the world rankings and beat the world No.14 Francesca Schiavone in the first round at Wimbledon.

The youngster also captured her first $25,000 ITF title in China in the summer.

“Mel has had a very good year in terms of improvement and her ranking with a jump from around 400 to 167,” Ahl said.

“She has proved she can compete at the highest level – she just needs to keep working hard on and off court. There are no short cuts or magic wands!”

South will stay in Dubai to play the doubles event with Australian Sophie Ferguson.

“We will use the conditions and facilities to practice and train as ideal preparation for the lead-up tournaments in Auckland followed by Hobart and the Australian Open qualifying,” Ahl added.

by LTA

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