Angelique Kerber, the world no9, needed a 49 minute final set to dismiss the challenge of Russian Elena Vesnina in their 1st Round clash.
Although the German lost the opening set, her spirited display saw her then wrap up the second set without dropping a game before a cat and mouse, nervy finale to triumph 3-6 6-0 7-5 in 107 minutes.
Left-hander Kerber, who hit the big time with an impressive run to the 2011 US Open semi-finals, has emerged as a potential Grand Slam champion despite a dire record at majors.
And her appearance at Eastbourne could be the start of the 24-year-old rising through the ranks to become a top five player.
Already Kerber has claimed WTA Tour titles this season – her first on the circuit – by seeing off two big guns in front of their home fans. Marion Bartoli was her victim at Paris in February followed by the scalp of Caroline Wozniacki in April at Copenhagen.
So Kerber is not afraid of upsetting both the opposition and their local supporters, this no nonsense attitude looks to hold the key to a long and successful future for her on the WTA Tour – maybe with Eastbourne’s AEGON International as her third ever career title on the senior circuit.
2012 AEGON International
Aleksandra Wozniak won 6-3 4-6 7-6 v Galina Voskoboeva
Anne Keothavong lost 2-6 3-6 to Daniela Hantuchova
Tamira Paszek won 7-5 6-1 v Marina Erakovic
Mona Barthel lost 1-6 6-4 1-6 to Chanelle Scheepers
Stephanie Dubois won 7-6 7-5 v Andrea Hlavackova
Bojana Jovanovski lost 2-6 3-6 to Laura Robson
Elena Vesnina won by walkover v Mirjana Lucic
Jade Windley lost 2-6 0-6 to Greta Arn
And the six foot 18-year-old, has missed out on the third and final qualifying showdown with Fed Cup team-mate Elena Baltacha.
The British ace, now one match away from making her maiden main draw appearance at Eastbourne, has been in emphatic form with a mouthwatering match due against Baltacha – nicknamed ‘Bally’.
But the Scottish no1, whose career has been dogged by injury and illness, fell victim to yet another injury so was forced to withdraw from the tournament.
Fellow Brit, albeit only a British citizen since May 2012, Johanna Konta was unable to win her qualifying match to march on at Devonshire Park.
The former Australian, who splits her time between living in Eastbourne and with her parents in Hungary, fell 6-3 6-2 to Russian Elena Vesnina.
Mona Barthel will arrive at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park keen to made amends for her poor performance on grass at Birmingham.
The German star, seeded no6 at the AEGON Classic at the Edgbaston Priory Club, was ousted by Czech Republic stunner Andrea Hlavackova in straight sets.
The 25-year-old, a Doubles specialist who won the 2011 French Open with compatriot Lucie Hradecka without conceding a set, saw off Barthel 7-6 6-2.
American teenage sensation Christina McHale, set to make her Eastbourne debut this year, was ousted 6-1 1-6 7-5 in a ding-dong battle to Russian 29-year-old Elena Vesnina.
Fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova, seeded no8, was given the runaround in her 7-6 6-3 tussle to beat Kazakhstan’s Sesil Karatantcheva.
Ex-Eastbourne champion Makarova next faces New Zealand no1 Marina Erakovic – the no9 seed – who delivered the knockout blow to Britain’s Laura Robson 6-4 3-6 6-4.
And fellow Brit Melanie South put on a brave battling display before succumbing to former world no1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, seeded no5, 6-1 7-6.
Exclusive by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Provisional players for Eastbourne, not all in the main draw, are:
- Greta Arn
- Mona Barthel
- Marion Bartoli
- Petra Cetkovska
- Sorana Cirstea
- Stephanie Dubois
- Marina Erakovic
- Daniela Hantuchova
- Andrea Hlavackova
- Su-Wei Hsieh
- Anne Keothavong
- Angelique Kerber
- Petra Kvitova
- Ekaterina Makarova
- Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez
- Christina McHale
- Li Na
- Tamira Paszek
- Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
- Tsvetana Pironkova
- Agnieszka Radwanska
- Laura Robson
- Lucie Safarova
- Chanelle Scheepers
- Carla Suarez Navarro
- Elena Vesnina
- Galina Voskoboeva
- Heather Watson
- Aleksandra Wozniak
- Caroline Wozniacki
- Klara Zakopalova
- Jie Zheng