Maria Kirilenko beat Serbian Bojana Jovanovski in their first ever encounter on the WTA circuit to progress to the 2nd Round at Eastbourne today.
The blonde Russian, seeded #10 for Wimbledon, made a mountain out of the opening set but breezed through the second set to register a 7-6 6-1 success.
Kirilenko, who has recently climbed the world rankings to live up to the long-term hype of being one of the rising stars from Russia, combined her natural finesse with a power game but played conservatively before snatching the first set 7-5 on the tiebreak.
With the lead there was no stopping the 26-year-old, who continued her fabulous form to follow on from a set of stunning performances at Roland Garros that propelled her into the world’s top 10 for the first time.
Jovanovski, the world #40, was totally outclassed in a rapid second set with the Russian #6 seed vying to make Eastbourne her second crown this season and took her win-loss record for the year to 28-10.
Capturing this tournament title poses a massive opportunity for Kirilenko to finally live up to the great expectations that have long been weighed on her shoulders.