Petra Kvitova was stretched by Montenegro’s little-known Danka Kovinic in the French Open, but became the first Eastbourne-bound player to advance.
The two-time Wimbledon winner had to be at her best to battle back from the brink of defeat by reeling off what proved to be the final three games in the 1st Round contest for a 6-2 4-6 7-5 triumph.
The #10 seed breezed through the opening set in the first match on Philippe-Chatrier Court, but was stopped in her stride by plucky Kovinic in the next set.
Kvitova solid service game vanished, broken twice with a decisive third set encouraging the crowd to drum up support for the Czech Repubic ace
Kvitova continued to look vulnerable and made a double fault – her tenth – to trail 5-4 and hand the initiative to Kovinic, who was serving for the match.
The pressure proved too hot to handle for Kovinic as Kvitova played a percentage game, one of the qualities required to become a Grand Slam champion, and was broken back to 5-5.
Kvitova, whose best run on the red clay in Paris was the 2012 semi-final, held her serve to edge ahead.
Kovinic serving to level matters, crumbled under the pressure against the highly experienced Kvitova to lose to 30 and taste defeat after a thrilling 137 minutes.