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BBC WEBSITE - 17/06/2008


British interest in the Eastbourne International Open was ended as Mel South went down 6-4 6-4 to Russia's Alisa Kleybanov in the first round.

The British number three, ranked 139 in the world, battled gamely but struggled to match the 19-year-old's power.

South had no answer to a flurry of aces from Kleybanov, ranked 49 in the world.

"I was always under pressure. After last week I feel I can compete at this level but I just need to gain more consistency in my game," she said.

"I'll take a lot of confidence with me to Wimbledon though where I'll look to be aggressive on court and really go for it."

South, 22, who has a wilcard to play at Wimbledon, joined Katie O'Brien in losing in the first round, while five players failed to get past qualifying.

South, who moved past Elena Baltacha as the third highest ranked British woman by reaching the quarter-finals at Birmingham last week, found Kleybanov an imposing opponent.

The Russian produced three aces in the first game of the second set and four in the fifth.

by BBC

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