Melanie South, Britain's 22-year-old women's No2, secured her place in next Friday's main draw for the Australian Open for the first time when Russia's Maria Sharapova, the reigning champion, pulled out of the tournament at the weekend because of a long-term shoulder injury.
South, ranked world No110, has played at Wimbledon for the last three years as a wild card, attaining one victory, and this will be the first time she has reached the main draw of a grand slam event as of right. She joins Anne Keothavong, whose semi-final success in Auckland last week lifted her to a career high No53 in the world.
South had double reason to celebrate, having qualified for the first round of the Medibank International in Sydney with a 6–2, 6–3 victory over Meng Yuan of China. She has been away from Britain for the last three months chasing ranking points in an attempt to gain direct entry into the season's first major and has been duly rewarded.