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LTA WEBSITE - 12/01/2009

SOUTH GAINS ENTRY OF AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Mel South has been awarded direct acceptance into the main draw at the Australian Open, which gets under way next week.

South just missed out on the original cut but has been getting closer to the 128 draw with each player withdrawal.

The British No.2 was finally given the nod on Sunday when reigning champion Maria Sharapova declared herself unable to compete due to injury.

South will join Anne Keothavong in Melbourne, the first time two British female players have gained direct entry into a Grand Slam main draw since Jo Durie and Clare Wood at the US Open in 1993.

“This is really great for both Mel and British Women’s Tennis, she deserves it so much,” said Simon Walsh, Coach of Mel South. “This is her reward on the back of all the hard work and having made such significant improvements and gains in 2008.”

Currently ranked at a career high No.110 in the world, the 21 year-old has played in the Australian Open qualifying for the last two years, bowing out in the first round on both occasions.

South is completing her Grand Slam preparations at the Medibank International in Sydney while Keothavong and Sarah Borwell are both playing at the Moorilla Hobart International



by LTA



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