Ashleigh Barty has survived a massive scare to safely progress to the second round of the US Open in New York.
Australia's world No.2 had to pull out all the stops before battling past dogged Kazakh Zarina Diyas 1-6 6-3 6-2 on Monday.
Barty used her trusty trademark serve to drag herself out of a big hole and set up a date on Wednesday with either unseeded American Lauren Davis or Swedish qualifier Johanna Larsson.
"I probably would have preferred if it was a little bit more straightforward, but, yeah, happy the way we were able to fight through that and find a way after a pretty awful start," said Barty.
"I think I just didn't give myself a chance in that first set. Sort of appalling, probably made a set's worth of errors.
“I think it was just nice to kind of lock down a little bit. It took some time to kind of break her down in the end."
Opening tournament proceedings on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Barty made a terrible start, falling behind 5-0 in 20 minutes after struggling to find her rhythm.
Her backhand was particularly off, a glut of errors from that wing gifting Diyas the first break of the match in the second game.
A Barty double-fault and wild forehand handed Diyas the double break before the second seed finally got on the scoreboard.
But Barty's 19th unforced error, another overcooked forehand, left Australia's big title hope down a set inside half an hour.
The awful start left fans and commentators in shock.
Wow. Barty down 6-1 to Diyas— José Morgado (@josemorgado) August 26, 2019
Not in front of a screen as yet but WHAT is that breadstick score Barty vs Diyas in the first set & match on Arthur Ashe?#USOpen really starting with the Upset Open vibe here!— ZENIA D'CUNHA (@ZENIADCUNHA) August 26, 2019
Wow what the hell Barty!?! 🤦🏽♂️— SacTown King (@SacTownKingCA) August 26, 2019
Holy Moly Ash Barty what's happened here then?? #USOpen— Shaheen Ashraf (@topgooner100) August 26, 2019
Barty has made more than double Diyas' unforced errors. What's going on #USOpen— Kyrgioptimist (@cindycyndi_) August 26, 2019
What's gonna on with Barty?— 🗽 (@missShruthi) August 26, 2019
Barty bounces back
Furious with herself, Barty emerged a different player in the second set, bludgeoning a succession of winners to work her way back into the contest.
It took her eight games, though, to break down Diyas.
But once she did Barty sealed the second set with a signature ace down the middle to get back on level terms.
She gained two more breaks in the third set to advance after a tough one-hour, 42-minute work-out.
"Zarina was able to put it in difficult positions even off my slice," Barty said.
"It was about trying to do it regularly and put her under pressure."
While Barty is through, fellow Australians Samantha Stosur, Daria Gavrilova and Priscilla Hon all fell at the first hurdle.
Champion in 2011, 35-year-old Stosur needed a wildcard into her 15th Open and bombed out in 63 minutes, a 6-1 6-3 loser against Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Gavrilova, who continues to battle a debilitating foot injury, ended the 2019 grand slam season without a win following a 6-3 6-4 loss to Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro.
Hon, a lucky loser from qualifying, had to settle for a $US58,000 ($A85,500) pay day after succumbing 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 to Russian Margarita Gasparyan.
On the men’s side, Alex de Minaur is the first Australian through after downing Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in four sets.
De Minaur advanced 6-4 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 7-5 after a three-hour, five-minute battle and next faces Chilea's 31st seed Christian Garin on Wednesday.