LONDON, Great Britain - Jelena Ostapenko kicked off her Wimbledon campaign with a wild 6-0, 1-6, 6-3 win over Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich to reach the second round at the All England Club.
"First matches are always tough," she said after the match. "First set I was playing pretty well, very confident. Second set she started to play good, served better. I missed a little bit like unforced errors. And then third set I played good, I think."
Fresh off her win at the French Open, the 20-year-old Latvian emerged bubbling with confidence on Court 18 following a late court reassignment, barreling through the opening set in 23 minutes.
Down two break points to start the second set, Sasnovich unlocked some of her best tennis as Ostapenko faded into the decider.
At her highest seeding ever, Ostapenko has enjoyed a breakthrough spring that has seen her win 14 of her last 16 three-setters, and promptly raced ahead 5-1 in the final set, ultimately closing Sasnovich out on serve after one hour and 19 minutes on court.
"I wanted to finish it today, because it got dark when it was like 5-1 for me in the third set and I just wanted to finish one game because I didn't really want to come tomorrow to play only one game and to warm up and prepare for the match and I couldn't practice."
Maintaining razor thin margins, the Latvian struck 24 winners to 23 unforced errors and converted six of eight break point opportunities.
Up next for Ostapenko is young Canadian star Françoise Abanda, who dropped just six games against Kurumi Nara only her fourth first round exit in 18 Grand Slam main draw appearances.
Earlier in the day, No.4 seed Elina Svitolina silenced the doubters with a decisive 7-5, 7-6(8) win over Aegon Classic runner-up and dangerous floater Ashleigh Barty.
Svitolina had openly questioned whether to play Wimbledon after incurring an Achilles injury in Birmingham, but recovered from a 3-5 deficit in the opening set to outlast Barty, who won the junior Wimbledon title back in 2011.
"I needed to produce a high level because she was playing amazing in Birmingham and was really confident on grass, and she won in juniors like very confident here, as well," Svitolina said after the match.
"It was a big thing for me, big motivation to win, because lots of people are saying, 'Oh, you know, very tough draw for Svitolina.'
"You know, now they can, 'Shhh,' she joked. "For me, it's a big win and big step forward on the grass."
Up next for Svitolina is Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone, who blasted past Mandy Minella in straight sets. Minella was revealed to be four and a half months pregnant with her first child before the match.
No.25 seed Carla Suárez Navarro also dug out of a tough draw by outlasting 2014 runner-up Eugenie Bouchard, 1-6, 6-1, 6-1.
Bouchard came out on fire to start, but dropping a long third game proved crucial in the deciding set, helping the Spaniard over the finish line as she booked asecond round encounter with Peng Shuai. The former Chinese No.1 knocked out Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova in three grueling sets, 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-4.