Ash Barty has made a successful return to the clay courts of Europe after a near two-year absence - and reckons the experience brought a smile to her face.
The Australian world No.1 defeated tough German Laura Siegemund in her first match on the indoor clay at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart to set up a quarter-final with either Karolina Pliskova or Jelena Ostapenko.
She was given a belated test by the event's former champion before wrapping up an impressive 6-0 7-5 second-round victory on Wednesday.
And after overcoming her first hurdle on a European clay court since her French Open triumph at Roland Garros in 2019, Barty said: "Whoever I play next, either way, I'll come out here and try and bring the match on my terms - but do it with a smile on my face again."
After her recent Miami Open victory, Barty had looked a bit weary in the next US tournament in Charleston - but back for her first match in Europe since Wimbledon 2019, she seemed well refreshed, blitzing out of the blocks.
She played a wonderfully accomplished 24-minute opening set, 'bagelling' her 33-year-old opponent, who managed only to win 10 points.
Barty expected a lot more from a renowned fighter like Siegemund - and the German duly obliged.
Going on the attack on what she called "my court", Siegemund, deprived of home support in the behind-closed-doors tournament, forced the Queenslander to up her game and eke out her fifth break of serve in the final game.
Asked whether the second set was down to her taking the foot off the gas or to Siegemund, the 2017 champion, raising her game, Barty had no doubt.
"Absolutely it was down to her. You have to give credit to your opponent and I think Laura did an exceptional job in changing the way she was playing," said Barty.
"She made it difficult for me to feel comfortable and she's a great competitor, she finds a way to get back into matches and she obviously loves playing on this court.
"So I knew it was never going to be easy, regardless of what the score was saying."
Once Siegemund got on the board after losing the first seven games, she went on to match Barty and even held a break point for a 5-4 lead.
Still, Barty held tough, despite struggling with a first-serve strike rate of 44 per cent, and, aided by 19 winners, eventually prevailed after one hour 19 minutes when Siegemund hit a wayward forehand wide.
"There weren't too many points when I felt like I had an opportunity to get into the court," said Barty.
"It was a bit of one-two tennis to start off and these courts are quite quick to what I've played on in the past. It's an adjustment - but next time we look to improve again.
"(Ostapenko and Pliskova) they're both great ball strikers, who look for serve and first shot. We might have a bit of a look at their match tomorrow and just see how they play."
Sixth-seeded Pliskova, the 2018 champion, won 7-5 3-6 6-3 against the 137th-ranked Tamara Korpatsch while former French Open champ Ostapenko defeated Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele 6-4 7-5.
Shock of the day came from Anett Kontaveit, who upset fourth-ranked former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 7-5 6-4 in 94 minutes.
Two-time winner Angelique Kerber, another former Australian Open champ, eased past Ekaterine Gorgodze 6-2 6-2 to book a date with Elina Svitolina.