Melbourne - World number one Simona Halep had to come from 5-2 and a set point down against Australian teenager Destanee Aiava to win a dramatic first-round match at the Australian Open on Tuesday.
Both the Romanian and her 17-year-old wildcard opponent needed on-court medical attention before top seed Halep ran out a battling 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 winner in an hour and 51 minutes.
The top seed had fallen at the first hurdle in the past two years at Melbourne Park and another shock was beckoning when the big-hitting Australian took a 5-2 lead in the first set buoyed by rowdy home supporters.
"I was actually stressed a little bit because two years in a row I lost first round, so I didn't want to do the third one," admitted Halep.
"She's going to be good in the future. But I'm really happy that I could win the first round. Was really important," added Halep.
But the fearless teenager's charge to the first set in her first appearance on Rod Laver Arena came to a dramatic halt as she called for a medical timeout at the change of ends, complaining of breathing problems.
After her blood pressure and pulse were taken she departed for further treatment.
On her return she managed to get to set point on the Romanian's serve, but once Halep held the tide turned.
Aiava was still dazed and even tried to change ends at 5-3 in her confused state until the umpire gently ushered her back.
"I think she didn't know what's the score," said Halep.
"I think she thought it's set when she took the medical. The medical maybe helped me. I was lucky a little bit."
Halep showed little of the form which helped her to the Shenzhen title two weeks ago but used her all experience to extend the rallies and force the ailing Australian to dig deep.
Halep eventually forced a tiebreak and finally squeezed over the finish line 7-5 in the tiebreaker to snatch a marathon first set after 73 minutes.
After racing into a 2-0 lead to start the second there was more drama when Halep rolled her ankle horribly chasing down a backhand and fell to the ground needing immediate attention from the physio.
But when she returned with her right ankle newly taped she immediately broke Aiava for 3-0, a moment greeted by almost silence from the home supporters who badly needed to be lifted by the fast-fading Aiava.
But it wasn't to be as Halep got to the second round for the first time since 2015.
"I felt a big pain on court, but I didn't have time to go to check it," Halep said of her ankle. "My ankles are not good."
She now faces a mouth-watering clash against Canada's Eugenie Bouchard, a former semi-finalist in Melbourne and Roland Garros, and a finalist at Wimbledon in 2014 after beating Halep in the semi-final - the last time the pair met.
"We didn't play together since long time. Wimbledon semi maybe. So long time ago," said Halep.
"I know that she's staying at the baseline. She tries to hit very fast. I have to do also the same game."
Collated results from the Australian Open on Tuesday:
Jiri Vesely (CZE) bt Vaclav Safranek (CZE) 6-4, 6-3, 6-3
Adrian Mannarino (FRA x26) bt Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) bt Roberto Bautista (ESP x20) 6-1, 7-5, 7-5
Maximilian Marterer (GER) bt Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) 6-0, 6-3, 6-4
Julien Benneteau (FRA) bt Taro Daniel (JPN) 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/0), 6-4, 6-1
Sam Querrey (USA x13) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) bt Radu Albot (MDA) 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
Nicolas Kicker (ARG) bt Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3
Lukas Lacko (SVK) bt Milos Raonic (CAN x22) 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI x9) bt Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/2)
Albert Ramos (ESP x21) bt Jared Donaldson (USA) 6-2, 6-3, 6-4
Peter Gojowczyk (GER) bt Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 6-3, 6-3, 6-1
Alexander Zverev (GER x4) bt Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) 6-1, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5
David Goffin (BEL x7) bt Matthias Bachinger (GER) 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) bt Florian Mayer (GER) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) bt Robin Haase (NED) 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (6/8), 7-5
Novak Djokovic (SRB x14) bt Donald Young (USA) 6-1, 6-2, 6-4
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) bt Kwon Soon-woo (KOR) 6-1, 6-2, 6-4
Denis Kudla (USA) bt Steve Johnson (USA) 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2
Tennys Sandgren (USA) bt Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-4, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2
Fabio Fognini (ITA x25) bt Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 6-4, 6-4, 7-5
Gael Monfils (FRA) bt Jaume Munar (ESP) 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4
Tim Smyczek (USA) bt Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-3, 6-7 (14/16), 6-3, 6-3
Chung Hyeon (KOR) bt Mischa Zverev (GER x32) 6-2, 4-1 ret
Richard Gasquet (FRA x29) bt Blaz Kavcic (SLO) 6-1, 6-4, 7-5
Daniil Medvedev (RUS) bt Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-2, 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (10/8), 6-4
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) bt Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-0, 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 6-4
Karen Khachanov (RUS) bt Peter Polansky (CAN) 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/2), 6-4
Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Aljaz Bedene (GBR) 6-3, 6-4, 6-3
Tomas Berdych (CZE x19) bt Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-1
Dominic Thiem (AUT x5) bt Guido Pella (ARG) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARGx12) bt Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-3, 6-4, 6-3
Johanna Konta (GBR x9) bt Madison Brengle (USA) 6-3, 6-1
Bernarda Pera (USA) bt Anna Blinkova (RUS) 6-2, 6-2
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE x20) bt Kristie Ahn (USA) 6-1, 7-5
Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) bt Richel Hogenkamp (NED) 6-1, 6-2
Lucie Safarova (CZE x29) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (CRO) 7-5, 6-3
Karolina Pliskova (CZE x6) bt Veronica Cepede (PAR) 6-3, 6-4
Angelique Kerber (GER x21) bt Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 6-0, 6-4
Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) bt Kurumi Nara (JPN) 7-5, 6-4
Caroline Garcia (FRA x8) bt Carina Witthoeft (GER) 7-5, 6-3
Elena Vesnina (RUS x16) bt Ons Jabeur (TUN) 6-3, 6-4
Maria Sharapova (RUS) bt Tatjana Malek (GER) 6-1, 6-4
Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) bt Christina McHale (USA) 6-3, 6-2
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) bt Oceane Dodin (FRA) 6-3, 7-6 (7/5)
Sorana Cirstea (ROM) bt Zarina Diyas (KAZ) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3
Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA) bt Lizette Cabrera (AUS) 7-6 (7/3), 6-4
Donna Vekic (CRO) bt Nao Hibino (JPN) 7-5, 6-3
Madison Keys (USA x17) bt Qiang Wang (CHN) 6-1, 7-5
Simona Halep (ROM x1) bt Destanee Aiava (AUS) 7-6 (7/5), 6-1
Ekaterina Alexandrova (RUS) bt Polona Hercog (SLO) 7-6 (7/2), 6-4
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO x28) bt Shelby Rogers (USA) 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 6-2
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x14) bt Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Naomi Osaka (JPN) bt Kristina Kucova (SVK) 7-5, 6-2
Lesya Tsurenko (UKR) bt Natalia Vikhlyantseva (RUS) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Camila Giorgi (ITA) bt Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) 6-4, 6-3
Lauren Davis (USA) bt Jana Cepelova (SVK) 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-1
Andrea Petkovic (GER) bt Petra Kvitova (CZE x27) 6-3, 4-6, 10-8
Hsieh Su-wei (TPE) bt Zhu Lin (CHN) 0-6, 6-0, 8-6
Ana Bogdan (ROM) bt Kristina Mladenovic (FRA x11) 6-3, 6-2
Garbine Muguruza (ESP x3) bt Jessika Ponchet (FRA) 6-4, 6-3
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x26) bt Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 7-5, 7-6 (8/6)
Ashleigh Barty (AUS x18) bt Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, 6-4