World No.1 Angelique Kerber has survived a huge scare against Lesia Tsurenko to keep her Australian Open title defence on track.
The top-seeded German blew a match point as she lost her way midway through her round one Rod Laver Arena clash with the Ukrainian, ranked 50 places lower, but rallied to a 6-2 5-7 6-2 win.
Last year's Australian Open win was Kerber's breakthrough major title, before she went on to also clinch the US Open crown which elevated her to the top ranking.
The 28-year-old lived up to her billing in the opening set, breaking Tsurenko at 2-2 and then reeling off seven straight games with her power forehand doing plenty of damage.
She had the chance to wrap up the match, serving at 5-4, but was unable to close out the result with Tsurenko making her pay, levelling on her fifth set point.
Kerber said post-match that she was concerned she would pay heavily for the missed match point opportunity.
Before taking last year's crown she was forced to fight back from a match point down in the first round against Japan's Misaki Doi.
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"I was thinking about this when I lost the second set after I had a match point," Kerber admitted after the match.
"I was hoping it wasn't the same ... I'm so happy to be into the second round."
The third set was one-way traffic with Tsurenko, who hasn't gone past the opening round at Melbourne Park in her last three attempts, hindered by hand cramps.
Kerber will next face compatriot world No.89 Carina Witthoeft, who overcame Japanese qualifer Eri Hozumi 7-5 7-6 (8-6).