There were mixed fortunes for former Wimbledon finalists on the first day of the 2023 qualifying competition. 2010 runner-up Vera Zvonareva triumphed over No.26 seed Laura Pigossi in a 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-2 barnburner, but 2014 finalist Eugenie Bouchard fell 6-4, 7-5 to No.13 seed Greet Minnen.

Zvonareva, 38, is making her latest comeback after a foot injury sidelined her between March 2022 and February 2023. She was winless in five tournaments before hitting the grass season, where she qualified for Berlin last week. Brazil's Pigossi served for victory twice in the second set, but the indefatigable Zvonareva held firm to eventually win in 2 hours and 46 minutes, the longest match of the first qualifying round.

With Netflix cameras in tow, Mirra Andreeva preparing for first season on grass

Former World No.69 Minnen has cut her ranking from No.225 at the start of January to her current No.121. The Belgian continued her rejuvenated form with a 1-hour, 36-minute defeat of Bouchard that extended her 2023 record to 39-12.

Hsieh, Cepelova at home on grass again

Previous Wimbledon history proved to be a better indicator of success than recent form for a few others, too. Hsieh Su-Wei, who upset Simona Halep en route to the 2019 fourth round, had only played one singles tournament since 2021. But the 37-year-old was at her magical best against Sachia Vickery, coming up with all sorts of delicate touch shots to rout the American 6-1, 6-4 in 56 minutes.

Last week, former No.50 Jana Cepelova also returned to the game for the first time since October 2020. The Slovak, whose Wimbledon wins include upsets of Halep and Garbiñe Muguruza, gave birth to daughter Nela in November 2021. Cepelova had fallen in the first round of the Gaiba 125 a week ago, but hit her stride with a 7-5, 7-6(8) upset of No.6 seed Olga Danilovic, saving four set points in the second-set tiebreak. The result was Cepelova's first win at any level since September 2020, and her first defeat of a Top 100 player since the 2019 US Open.

Former Wimbledon quarterfinalist CoCo Vandeweghe also advanced 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 over South Korea's No.20 seed Jang Su-Jeong; while 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin eased to a 6-3, 6-2 win over former No.63 Irina Falconi Hartman.

Shnaider, Naef win on Wimbledon debuts

As well as the Andreeva sisters Erika and Mirra, a number of up-and-coming teenage talents were able to get to grips with grass in their first appearances at Wimbledon qualifying.

No.5 seed Diana Shnaider, 19, made a slow start against last year's junior champion, 17-year-old wild card Liv Hovde. But Shnaider, newly turned pro after a freshman season at NC State University, roared back to defeat the American 7-5, 6-2 in 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Celine Naef, 18, made a memorable tour-level debut two weeks ago in 's-Hertogenbosch when she defeated Venus Williams 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 in the first round. Now up to No.165, the Swiss teenager carried over her strong form into her first Grand Slam qualifying competition, overcoming 2021 US Open junior finalist Kristina Dmitruk 7-6(3), 6-0 in 67 minutes.

Top seeds Avanesyan, Tauson, Mandlik advance

Nine of the top 10 seeds in the draw successfully navigated their openers. This number included No.1 seed Elina Avanesyan, who routed Fernanda Contreras 6-3, 6-0 in 65 minutes; No.3 seed Clara Tauson, who edged 's-Hertogenbosch quarterfinalist Emina Bektas 6-4, 6-4; and No.4 seed Elizabeth Mandlik, who moved past Elsa Jacquemot 7-5, 6-3.

Avanesyan and Mandlik had both come into the tournament in strong form. Avanesyan had made her WTA 500 quarterfinal debut in Berlin last week, a run that included an upset of Daria Kasatkina, while Mandlik had reached her first tour-level quarterfinal two weeks ago in Nottingham.

Also maintaining a high grass-court level were Ashlyn Krueger and Yanina Wickmayer. Krueger, 19, had notched her first WTA main draw win over Victoria Azarenka in 's-Hertogenbosch, and backed that up by lifting her maiden 125 trophy in Gaiba last week. The American teenager extended her winning streak to six by defeating France's Alice Robbe 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

Wickmayer's 6-4, 6-3 win over Arianne Hartono means that the 33-year-old Belgian has now won 16 of her past 18 matches. Ten of those wins have come on grass: the former No.12, who returned from maternity leave last year, captured the Surbiton ITF W100 title four weeks ago and then reached the Gaiba 125 quarterfinals last week.