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BIRMINGHAM - 11/06/2008

Melanie South makes last 16 at DFS Classic

REMAINING British hopes at the DFS Classic went South at Edgbaston Priory yesterday - but in a good way.

In a Melanie South way to be precise as the British number four became the first homegrown player for six years - and only the second over the last decade - to reach the last 16 at Edgbaston Priory.

Not since Julie Pullin in 2002 has a resident of Blighty breached the third round but for South it was fully deserved thanks to an excellent straight sets win against world number 28 Sybille Bammer.

Fourteen breaks of serve made for an entertaining if unpredictable tussle but South kept her nerve to prevail 6-3 7-5.

“I knew it was going to be tough because Sybille has been in the top 20 for a while,” admitted 22-year-old South, currently ranked 154 in the world.

“So when it got nervy towards the end I knew I had to go and win it, she wasn’t just going to give it to me.”

And South admitted she used the biggest win of her developing career to date - defeating the 11th seed Francesca Schiavone at Wimbledon two years ago - as inspiration during those closing moments.

“Having beaten Schiavone I had the confidence to be able to close out the match,” she added.

“The key now is trying to build on it although at the same time I’ve got to remember I’m going into a different match now and a different player.

“But I’m feeling very positive at the moment, I’ve got a lot of belief and have been consistent with my results.

“I’ve also just found out I’ve got a Wimbledon wild card which is great to hear and I’ll be going there with a lot of confidence.

“I love this time of year - I’ve been travelling a lot so far this year and so it’s nice to be home.

“Surbiton last week and Wimbledon are just five minutes down the road while my Dad was able to come and watch me today.

“I think it can get into the top 100 this year and eventually even higher because there is still a lot to work on with my game.”

Awaiting South in Thursday’s scheduled third round is either seventh seed Aiko Nakamura or Romanian Sorana Cirstea, who play today.

by Paul Berry

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