Andrea Petkovic brilliantly bounced back from losing the opening set to overturn Zheng Saisai on bluster Court 1.
With both players kept waiting until the heavy rain moved away from the famously sunny seaside resort, it was worth the wait for the fans.
Spectators were treated to a real ding-dong battle, with the no nonsense tactics from the lanky German swaying the contest with a string of forward winners to claim a 5-7 6-2 6-4 triumph.
The opening set was an enthralling contest, which in-form Zheng edged.
But the Chinese ace was on the receiving end of precision tennis in the second set, bombarded by solid serving and fierce winners.
After Zheng had mastered the German’s speed of shot, the decisive set became a game of attrition with both players cautious on their respective service games.
Zheng was under pressure to stay in the match on her serve after the opening nine games service games were all held.
She wobbled, dropping the first two points before bouncing back in style to win the next three points. But she buckled under the pressure to drop the next three points and bravely bow out of the tournament.
Petkovic is back in business and keen to succeed on grass following a disappointing season on clay – that included a 1st Round win over Britain’s Laura Robson – that has resulted in her slipping outside the world’s top 30.
Her reward is a 2nd Round clash with world #22 Sara Errani. The Italian #13 seed has been in fine form on grass, which is neither her favourite surface nor suited to her superb all-round game.
And although Zheng had been in magnificent form on grass, arriving at Eastbourne having disposed of British pair Johanna Konta and Tara Moore as she progressed to the semi-final stage at the Aegon Open on Nottingham’s grass courts, her next exploits will be at Wimbledon.
Zheng, who enjoyed a week off after her Nottingham exploits, said, “I’ve achieved some progress recently, especially in serving, but just failed to show it on the court.”