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SURREY COMET - 6/02/2004


New Malden tennis player Melanie South picked up her second title of the season last week when she won the WTA $10,000 doubles event at Tipton. South and her partner Rebecca Llewellyn had never played together before and were unseeded for the tournament. But that did not prevent them from beating a host of top opponents.

After overcoming Alexandra Kostikova and Alexandra Kulikova, they received a walkover against top seeds Helen Crook and Surina De Beer, who was injured. They met Martina Babacova dndMonika Schneider in the semi-finals and came back from a set down to reach the final. There they came up against second-seed pairing and hot favourites Klaudia Jans and Alicja Rosolska.

Again South and Llewellyn lost the first set, but they fought back brilliantly to win the match and pocket the prize money.

“That victory was really pleasing,” said South. “We didn’t have much preparation together, so there was no pressure on us. It was difficult at first, but once we got used to each other we played some really good tennis. I always enjoy playing doubles and take it seriously. It gives me the opportunity to play more matches.”

South’s singles ranking has also been boosted this week, leaping from 860 to 758 after she made the quarter-finals in Hull and the second round in Tipton.

“Things are going well for me in the singles and I am delighted to be in the 700s now,” she said. “Every time my ranking improves it gives me a better chance of qualifying for tournaments, so I want to continue to push myself.”

South will be in Spain for the next month, taking part in four WTA events, the first of which starts in Mallorca this weekend.

by Mike Simmonds

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