Mel South, Katie O’Brien and Anne Keothavong battled hard but lost in the first round of the Australian Open on Monday.
South, the British number two, was playing in her first Grand Slam main draw event without the aid of a wildcard.
The 22 year old has risen to a career high of 102 in the world courtesy of a run of good results towards the end of 2008 which was enough to see her secure a place amongst the elite in Australia.
South never looked overawed by her opponent, Marion Bartoli of France, despite the difference in ranking and led the second set 4-1 before a run of five straight games helped the 16th seed and Wimbledon finalist in 2007 to a 6-2 6-4 victory.
Despite the defeat, South still had plenty to be positive about: “I’m disappointed to have lost particularly having played her a couple of times before and knowing I could beat her.
“I played a really bad game at 4-1 in the second set which was frustrating but getting into the main draw on my ranking has been a good start to the year for me.”
South is already looking ahead to next month’s Fed Cup competition and beyond, relishing the opportunity to get back on court. “It’s been a good tournament, not just for me but for all the British girls.
“I’ve got plenty of confidence making main draw and just need a couple of wins and should crack the top 100. I’ve been working hard recently with my coach Simon Walsh and it’s nice when that hard work pays off.”
Speaking after the match Head Coach of Women’s Tennis Nigel Sears said:
Mel showed great spirit to put the first set behind her and get to 4-1 in the second. It’s no disgrace to lose to someone like Bartoli.”