Melbourne - Former world number one Ana Ivanovic beat unheralded Tammi Patterson to keep her Australian Open hopes alive on Tuesday and post her first win after a disappointing start to the season.
The Serb, a perennial crowd favourite in Australia, where she has family, crashed at the first hurdle at both the Auckland Classic and Sydney International this month but finally got off the mark against wildcard Patterson.
She came through the test on Hisense Arena 6-2, 6-3 and has a good chance of pushing on to the third round with a qualifier, Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova, awaiting her next.
"I really hope I can be successful here," she said after a fist-pumping display.
"It's always tough to play someone you don't really know and I'm thrilled to be through.
"It mens a lot to me and hopefully I can improve in my second match."
Her progress to the second round is one better than last year, when she suffered a humiliating defeat to a player ranked 137 places below her.
That loss stymied her plans to rebuild a career that had stalled since she won the French Open as a 20-year-old in 2008.
Undeterred, she bounced back to make the Roland Garros semis but flopped again at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Seeded 23 in Melbourne, Ivanovic was too good for Australian Patterson, pummelling 15 winners with her pinpoint forehands doing the damage.