Jelena Ostapenko and Harriet Dart earned gritty first-round wins at the Rothesay International on a sunny Monday, while No.1 seed Elena Rybakina withdrew from the event.

Ostapenko of Latvia, the No.5 seed and 2021 champion, clinched a spot in the second round with a 7-6(3), 6-1 win over Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen.

World No.13 Ostapenko shook off a fall on the grass midway through the second set and held on for the 1-hour and 29-minute victory over 84th-ranked Minnen.

Ostapenko has experienced much past success at Eastbourne. At one point, she won nine straight matches at the tournament, taking the 2021 title and reaching the 2022 final before having her streak snapped by Petra Kvitova.

"I think the surface suits me really well," Ostapenko said in her on-court interview. "The first time I played on grass, I was like, ‘How can we play tennis on this surface? I don’t understand what’s happening here.’ But then every year was better and better."


2017 Roland Garros champion Ostapenko also came into Monday's match knowing she routed Minnen on grass in their lone previous meeting: a 6-1, 6-2 victory in the first round of Wimbledon just last year.

However, Minnen's sole prior Top 20 win also came on grass, when she shocked former champion Garbiñe Muguruza at 2022 Wimbledon. The Belgian brought that kind of form into Monday's opening set, where she led by a break on three separate occasions and served for the set at 5-4 and 6-5.

Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for LTA

But each time Ostapenko fell behind, the Latvian unleashed her big-hitting game to immediately pull back on serve. In the tiebreak, Ostapenko fired a backhand crosscourt winner to reach triple set point at 6-3. Ostapenko only needed one of those, slamming a forehand return winner to squeak out the one-set lead.

A slip and fall at 3-1 in the second set led Ostapenko to take an off-court medical time-out, but the tumble seemingly did not halt her momentum as she closed out the victory.

"Grass is a great surface, but sometimes it can be really slippery and really tricky," Ostapenko said in her on-court interview. "So I took the medical time-out just to make sure I’m fine."

Dart wins marathon: Earlier, British wild card Dart thrilled her home crowds by outlasting former Wimbledon quarterfinalist Marie Bouzkova 7-5, 6-7(7), 6-4 in a grueling 3 hours and 29 minutes -- the third-longest match on tour this year.

World No.101 Dart, an Eastbourne quarterfinalist in 2022, prevailed in her first meeting with 37th-ranked Bouzkova, earning her first Top 50 win in the past year. Before Monday, Dart's last Top 50 win came in Eastbourne last season over Zhang Shuai.

Dart outlasts Bouzkova in marathon Eastbourne first round

Dart fought back from 4-1 down to lead by a set on Monday. Dart also came back from 4-1 down in the second set to force a tiebreak and near a straight-sets win, but the Brit never held match point in the second set. Bouzkova eventually converted her fourth set point to win an 88-minute set.

But Dart moved ahead for good by breaking for 2-1 in the third set. The wild card never relinquished that advantage, saving a break point at 4-3 on her way to the win.

Rybakina withdraws, Kenin moves in: Dart was initially scheduled to face top seed Rybakina, the 2022 Wimbledon champion, in the second round. However, Rybakina withdrew from the event on Monday due to a change of schedule.

Dart will still face a Grand Slam champion in the second round when she faces lucky loser Sofia Kenin for the first time. Kenin won the 2020 Australian Open and also made the 2020 Roland Garros final.

Fernandez fights past Krejcikova: As light fell on Day 1, No.30 Leylah Fernandez earned her first win over Barbora Krejcikova. The Canadian notched a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 victory in a match that finished at 9:27 p.m.