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LTA WEBSITE - 13/12/2006


British No.2 Mel South and Australian Sophie Ferguson beat the top seeds in the first round of the doubles at the $75K Dubai ITF event on Wednesday.

South and Ferguson fought their way past Wimbledon doubles semi-finalist and world No.36 Juliana Fedak of Ukraine and German world No.120 Julia Schruff 7-6, 6-4.

South and Ferguson – playing together for the first time – fought back from 2-5 in the first set and 1-3 in the second.

It was a case of sweet revenge for South, who with fellow-Briton Katie O’Brien lost to Fedak in the first round at Wimbledon this year.

The Ukraine 23-year-old partnered compatriot Tatiana Perebiynis on their way to the semi-finals in SW19. Fedak also made the last 16 of the doubles at the French Open with Ukraine’s Alona Bondarenko.

South is the British No.2 in singles and doubles with a current WTA doubles world ranking of No.198. Ferguson, who works on a part-time basis with Roger Federer’s coach, Tony Roche, is the world doubles No.189.

Roger Federer is out here in Dubai too... he has a place here and also uses the conditions of Dubai to prepare himself for Australia.

Lucie Ahl

“I enjoyed playing with Sophie,” South said. “She has a good serve and is positive at the net which encouraged me to be the same.”

South’s coach, Lucie Ahl, who watched part of the match with Roche, said playing the Dubai event has turned out to be an excellent decision.

“I felt it was a good move for Mel play out here in Dubai not just because she was in the main draw but also for us to taste the same conditions that Mel will be playing in when she travels to Australia just after Christmas,” Ahl said.

“Since Mel lost her singles on Monday we’ve been out on the practice court working on some specific parts of her game as well as playing with a different combination of girls who are out here. We’ve also been spending a lot of time in the gym.

“It’s perfect being here – there are plenty of courts and girls ranked in the top 200 as well as a great gym and the kind of heat and breezy conditions expected in New Zealand and Australia.

“Roger Federer is out here in Dubai with Tony Roche, too, until just before Christmas. Roger has a place here and also uses the conditions of Dubai to prepare himself for Australia.”

by lta

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