Melanie South in her first round match at Wimbledon
Melanie South is the British princess of SW19 after registering an impressive first round win as she overcame the 11th seeded Francesca Schiavone 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Ladies Day is traditionally the second day of the tournament at Wimbledon but for Britain’s Melanie South and Sarah Borwell it came 24 hours later. On a day when Tim Henman's aspirations were masterfully but to the sword by Roger Federer, something special was required to brighten the British mood and it came with two laudable female victories.
Not too long ago Melanie South used to caste envious glances at the All England Club as she got to grips with the game at the neighbouring Wimbledon Tennis Club. Now she is the British princess of SW19 after registering Britain’s most impressive win at the Championships since since Sam Smith beat former champion Conchita Martinez in 1998.
South overcame the 11th seeded Francesca Schiavone 3-6,6-3,6-3 and not to be outdone fellow wild card entrant Sarah Borwell produced a big serving performance to oust 66th ranked Marta Domachowska 6-3,6-7, 6-4. One the male front, Martin Lee produced a performance fill of guts and determination to beat the giant Belgian Dick Norman 6-2,7-6,7-6.
For South victory came as way of making up for the tearful defeat of her friend and training partner Katie O'Brien a day earlier and for Borwell it was a chance to emulate the success of Richard Bloomfield who shares the same coach, Peter Russell.
Based at the Lawn Tennis Association’s Queens Club headquarters under the coaching guidance of Lucie Ahl, South’s win was the best British female result at Wimbledon and she enthused: “Obviously I am so happy. This is my bet ever win and although I knew I was going to be nervous, I just went out there to enjoy the experience. And I loved every minute.”
Though South may be ranked 219 places below Schiavone in 305th place on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour computer but she acquitted herself admirably as she fulfilled her previous ambition of just contesting Wimbledon’s opening round. Now she has set her sights a lot higher and wants to be inside the world’s top 200 by the end of the year.
The force of her hitting seemed to make such an aim a distinct possibility and the legendary Martina Navratilova was amongst the crowd and admired the way South rounded out her victory against the respected Italian.