Surrey's Melanie South gets to grips with life on the 'dirt' writes Rob Eyton-Jones
In reaching the final of the women's singles at the Scottish Championships - a $10,000 ITF circuit event - the resurgent Melanie South showed encouraging signs that she is making headway on her least favourite surface, clay.
South, who since recovering from a knee injury last summer has won the Bath $10,000 singles title and claimed three consecutive doubles titles, lost the Edinburgh final to defending champion Ekaterina Kozhokhina of Russian 6-4, 6-3. But she did win the doubles with Welsh No. 1 Rebecca Llewellyn.
"I really wanted to win and get another title at this level," said South, who turned 19 during her visit north of the border.
"I started off very tight and didn't put enough pressure on her. I let her dictate and she's the type of player that once in control is comfortable and can strke the ball extremely well. I prefer courts that complement my attacking game, but I've developed my game on clay to use it to my advantage and I have become more patient and disciplined. It's important to feel comfortable on clay - after all, one of the four Grand Slam events is played on it and I want to be playing there in the future."