Mel South raised the possibility of no less than three British players reaching the third round here - only one has ever done so in this tournament's 26-year history - when she beat Sybille Bammer, the fourth-seeded Austrian, 6-3, 7-5 in the second round of the DFS Classic yesterday.
With Katie O'Brien and Naomi Cavaday both playing qualifiers in their second-round matches today, South's bold and hard-headed display against an opponent who was recently in the world's top 20 added to a cautious sense of optimism among this country's leading women.
The 22-year-old South had the memory of a fine win over the 11th-seeded Francesca Schiavone at Wimbledon in 2006 to bolster her whilst struggling to close the match out. "That helped me quite a bit," admitted South, who is ranked down at 154 and only came here as a wild card. "There were nerves but I kept looking forward. I wanted to win." A key was a recovery from love-40 at three-all, when she suddenly served better, though that was the least impressive part of her game. She did, though, attack Bammer spiritedly and switched the direction of her attacks well.
Watched by her father, John, a former Fulham footballer, her day was rounded off by the announcement of a Wimbledon wild card which may bring the chance of another notable scalp