MELBOURNE, Australia - Three-time quarterfinalist Carla Suárez Navarro won't be saying goodbye to the Australian Open just yet.
The former World No.6 carved up a 7-6(6), 7-6(6) upset of No.11 seed Aryna Sabalenka in her last "first match" at Melbourne Park on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old Spaniard announced in December that 2020 will be her last year on the circuit, as she plans to retire at the end of the year.
Read more: Suárez Navarro to end career in 2020
After losing her first two matches of the season, to Daria Kasatkina in Auckland and to Arina Rodionova in Adelaide qualifying, Suárez Navarro rallied from deficits in both sets to turn around a 3-0 head-to-head deficit against the Belarusian No.1.
She rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the opener, and an ensuing 4-2 deficit in the tiebreak, before coming from a break down and saving a set point in the second-set tiebreak to earn a pair of identical set scores in two hours and 11 minutes.
Though each player broke serve five times in the match, Suárez Navarro proved to be the more efficient: she went 5-for-9 against Sabalenka's serve in the winning effort, while the Belarusian went just 5-for-15.
In addition, the World No.12 racked up 58 unforced errors in the match to just 32 winners, while Suárez Navarro proved to manage the swirling winds better to the tune of 18 winners and 36 unforced.
The match between the two former Top 10 players was one of eight first-round matches to finally conclude on Wednesday, held over from the past two days due to Monday's rain, which lasted from the afternoon into evening, and Tuesday's lengthy order of play as a result.
Suárez Navarro advances to face Polish teenager Iga Swiatek, who was a 6-2, 6-3 winner over Hungary's Timea Babos in her first match since the US Open in August
In other opening round action, three seeds scored wins. No.16 seed Elise Mertens led the way, winning the last nine games to beat Montenegro's Danka Kovinic, 6-2, 6-0. No.28 seed Anett Kontaveit surrendered just two games to Aussie wildcard Astra Sharma in a 6-0, 6-2 win, while No.30 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was a 6-1, 7-5 winner over Serbian Nina Stojanovic.
Suárez Navarro's compatriot Sara Sorribes Tormo rallied for a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Russian Veronika Kudermetova; Taylor Townsend came through an all-American clash against Auckland runner-up Jessica Pegula, 6-4, 7-6(5); and Great Britain's Heather Watson, a semifinalist last week at the Hobart International, kept her good run of form going with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Kristyna Pliskova.