GABRIELLA Taylor's stunning performance yesterday in her second round Wimbledon qualifying match highlighted the emergence of Southampton’s very own home-grown talent.

The youngest competitor in the tournament, the 18-year-old drew the highest-ranked opponent in both rounds, this time pitted against American Vania King, ranked 156 in the world, writes NAZRIN WILKINSON.

She lost in three sets but has shown her supporters and British tennis that she means business and is setting her sights for the top.

Taylor took the first set 7-5 after a series of high octane games against the 27-year-old King.

She stayed focussed throughout the match, taking control of the second set.

Brilliant speed and accuracy set her on target for her second major win of the tournament, but King's well-honed experience on the pro circuit eventually captured the third set and match.

Final score 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to USA's King, but yet another very respectable and hard-fought result from one of our top British junior talents.

Taylor was thrilled despite the loss and said: “Both the matches I've played in the Wimbledon qualifiers were a fantastic experience for me.

“A very special thank you to the LTA for this wildcard and their constant support to me. I worked very hard to get here and I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to play here, it's been amazing!"

"I have gained so much confidence from playing with these top WTA girls and it has shown me that I am close to their level, which is very encouraging for me.

“Being able to hit well against them tells me that I am able to hold my own alongside them, which makes me feel really good for the future!

"Next I am looking forward to my preparation for Wimbledon Juniors. This is my last year as a junior, so I am going to go out there on the day, give it my all and enjoy every minute knowing I will never be in this position again. So nothing to lose and everything to gain!

"Of course, I am still young and I know I have certain areas of my game which need a lot of improvement and practice, which can hopefully, one day, take me to the very top.

"I love this game and the dedication it takes, not only from myself but from the people who are around me who support and help me to strive for my dream.

"Tennis has given me so many opportunities to travel and meet some amazing people including coaches, players, sponsors and my brand new team of local supporters and sponsors in Southampton (Mark Forbes of Saintsfc, James Kirkpatrick of Recovery Room and Calin Huma of Indes Group) plus all my supporters across the world.

"These are the people who I can count on as friends and for support which is vital. I would like to thank everybody who has been so positive in their support over the years."