Elina Svitolina was pushed all the way by wildcard Heather Watson in the first round of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham on Monday, but came through the test in three sets, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.
The highest-ranked player in the draw after the withdrawal of World No.1 Angelique Kerber, Svitolina rolled through the opening set before Watson rallied late in the second set to force a decider, which went the World No.5's way behind one break of serve.
The Brit hit back to save two match points in the final game of the match, but was unable to create a break point opportunity at any point in the third set.
"I've been struggling a little bit on grass for the past few years...and I like the way I played today, the way I handled the game, the tight moments as well," Svitolina assessed. "I was expecting that she would come back and play well because, she always plays well on grass and can be very dangerous player. I was very happy that I could finish in the third set on my serve. It was actually a pretty good game.