Elena Vesnina dismissed the challenge of Ana Ivanovic in a rain delayed Centre Court three set thriller on Monday afternoon, battling back to carve out a 2-6 6-4 6-3 success.
But it was Ivanovic who had herself to blame for shooting herself in the foot when victory seemed to be in the bag.
Ivanovic said: “It’s very hard to get rhythm as you don’t get many long rallies. I want to build towards having a few good days of practice in London before Wimbledon.
“I still need to get used to moving on the grass. It’s fun to play on grass because you have to be quick and react, but sometimes it gets frustrating as I have a style of game where I go for big shots.”
The #8 seed was in control in the opening set with her powerful first serve and flat forehand getting the better of Vesnina.
But Vesnina, following in the footsteps of another beautiful blonde Russian – Anna Kournikova – by failing to win a Singles title on the WTA circuit, fought back to square the contest with a solid second set display.
The high expectations that came with capturing the 2008 French Open crown, followed by a brief flirtation as world #1, has been a burden on the young shoulders of Ivanovic.
And again the Serbian star was far from her best after her tactics were all too transparent to the never-say-die attitude of Vesnina.
Ivanovic went through a start-stop stutter on the WTA Tour until last year, when she made an impression on the grass courts, suffered from a lack of confidence. But she returned to a top 15 place for the first time since nosediving from being the world’s best player.
Ivanovic,with her dashing good looks, was written off by many former players as more of a stylish pretender rather than a serious contender on the circuit.
Yet under the guidance of veteran British coach Nigel Sears Ivanovic has worked hard to claw her way back up the rankings, and is seeking a top 10 place soon. But on the evidence of her 1st Round exit to Vesnina that is unlikely to happen in 2013.
Ivanovic possesses a much more controlled game-plan nowadays, no longer relying on her power strikes to win matches. She annihilated Angelique Kerber, the 2012 Eastbourne runner-up, with a near perfect performance over the German at the recent Stuttgart tournament.
But the topsy-turvy form and predictable choice of shots made it easy enough for Vesnina to pull off a shock result and stun the ex-world #1.
Ivanovic admitted: “This tournament is always very strong, so from the 1st Round you face a tough opponent. I played well in the beginning, but it was just a few points here and there that really decided this match.”