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SURREY COMET - 3/08/2006


New Malden's Melanie South lifted the first $25,000 title of her career this week a month after winning through to the second round of Wimbledon.

The 20-year-old overcame Chinese 17-year-old Jing-Jing Lu 7-5 7-6 in Chengdu to register her best result of the year following her breakthrough triumph at SW19 in June.

Her remarkable rise up the rankings has seen her climb 208 places to 201 in the world since the start of the year and named the British number two this week.

The win means South will achieve her 2006 aim of being inside the top 200 by the turn of the year, a target former British Davis Cup captain Jeremy Bates has described as modest'.

South has reached at least the semi-final stages of her three tournaments and another good run should see her ranked inside the top 175 and hot on the heels of current British number one Anne Keothavong.

She begins the final leg of her current 21-day tour of China this week with another $25,000 competition in Changsha.

A week after returning from the Far East, South will be off to New York for the US Open qualifiers bidding for her second singles appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam event this year


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