Jelena Ostapenko won her first match since taking home her maiden major title in Roland Garros, surviving a second set blip to knock out Carla Suárez Navarro at the Aegon International.
WTA Staff

EASTBOURNE, Great Britain - Jelena Ostapenko won a thrilling first match of her grass court campaign, dispatching Spain's Carla Suárez Navarro, 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 to increase her winning streak to eight in a row and advance into the third round at the Aegon International in Eastbourne.

"I was feeling good but it’s very tough," she told WTA Insider after the match. "It’s different conditions and a completely different surface from clay. You have to get used to it because it’s my first match on grass this year. I’m happy about the win."

The 20-year-old hadn't played a match since shocking the tennis world to win her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, withdrawing from the Aegon Classic in Birmingham citing a back injury.

"I’m feeling better. I wanted to rest for a couple of more days and not force too much because I’d’ve only had a week between the French Open and Birmingham.

"I think I had enough rest and then I started to prepare for grass. I think it was fine."

Eager to tackle the surface on which she won Junior Wimbledon in 2014, Ostapenko rolled through the opening set in confident fashion against Suárez Navarro, who'd only won two games in their previous grass court encounter at the All England Club.

"I started pretty well and was playing very aggressively. For most of the first set, I was barely missing, hitting a lot of winners."

Still, the Spaniard had just earned a confidence-boosting win over 2010 Eastbourne champion Ekaterina Makarova, and ultimately ran the table in the second set as Ostapenko left the court to treat an injury.

Reemerging with heavy strapping on her right thigh, Ostapenko nonetheless took control to start the decider with a quick break to love. Each time the Latvian took a lead, however, Suárez Navarro wasn't far behind, leveling the set at 2-2 and breaking Ostapenko as she served for the match at 5-3.

"The second set was more of a struggle. Carla played better, she wasn’t missing and she was playing more aggressively. In the third, I was just trying to play aggressive because it’s a grass court. That helped me in the end."

The No.10 seed ultimately landed the final blow, breaking for the victory behind a Suárez Navarro double fault after one hour and 39 minutes on court.

"I just want to get as many matches on grass as possible to prepare for Wimbledon. This is a warm-up tournament, after all."

In another big-hitting display, Ostapenko struck an impressive 26 winners and broke serve six times to book a third round encounter with either Sorana Cirstea or No.5 seed Johanna Konta.