Timea Babos scored a straight set success over Camila Giorgi in the opening day’s match on Court #1.
The 23-year-old Hungarian looked sharpest in the glorious sunshine, and her determination paved the way to book a place in the 2nd Round 6-4 7-6(6).
But it was a close call in an entertaining encounter between two hard-hitters who treated the spectators to high-quality tennis.
Giorgi, who has previously pulled off some impressive results on the outer courts at Devonshire Park having reached the 2014 quarter-finals here, was always in the mix but her power game resulted in two many drives landing long.
With Babos edging the opening set, down to breaking the Italian in the ninth game, the next set turned into a thriller.
Giorgi, who won her sole WTA Tour title on the grass at the Ricoh Open in the Netherlands last summer, was edgy and so was her opponent.
The opening four games resulted in all break of serves, before the pair became more settled and rolled out the winners to produce the lottery of a tiebreak.
Giorgi was first to break, pouncing on Babos’ mistake to lead 2-1.
But then she wobbled and lost six out of the next points to slip up and bow out of an event where she famously beat Belarusian Victoria Azarenka.
Babos’ reward is a 2nd Round clash with Czech Petra Kvitova, the #5 seed and two-time Wimbledon winner.
Yet Kvitova, who made a rare appearance at the grass court tournament in Birmingham was ousted by little-known Latvian Jelena Ostapenko last week. Kvitova and Babos have yet to meet on the circuit.