What started as a routine first-round match at Edgbaston Priory yesterday finished as a career-changing experience for British No 3 Sarah Borwell, as she fought her way to victory over compatriot Melanie South.
Most of this tense three-setter was worse than not pretty, it was horrid as neither player seemed capable of conquering their nerves, moving with any degree of purpose or economy nor finding an end to the bountiful string of unforced errors that emanated from their racquets.
Had this been a Battle of Britons, then the collateral damage would have been unjustifiably high. Yet for Borwell (pictured), the 26-year-old from Middlesbrough who was probably the dominant player throughout, it turned out to be one of those days that people recall with the phrase: "It all started when . . ."
Indeed this win, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, has earned her a wild-card into Wimbledon in a fortnight's time, a career-high world ranking - she is sure to improve on her present best of 257- and wiped out the #10,000 debt she has accumulated during three years as a professional.
To say this was a good day's work is the definitive understatement, Borwell didn't even try to conceal the delight her maiden Sony Ericsson WTA Tour win brought her: "I feel great," she said.
"Both of us knew it was a big match; going on court, it was financially important," she said in reference to the fact the winner was virtually assured of an entry into the All England Championships.
News filtered through that Borwell had been accepted into the main draw at around 6pm and in an instant, it put her back on a sound footing, for the rest of the season at least.
She has been entered for both the singles and doubles and even if she were to lose in the first round in both competitions, she would walk away with #11,820.
The significance should not be under-estimated: "It's nice my achievements have been acknowledged, so now I can relax and play another year without worrying," Borwell continued.
"I was in Germany recently and was supposed to play in a tournament in Gran Canaria, but couldn't afford the flight and had to go home, so this is a big weight off my shoulders. My bank account will look a lot healthier in a few weeks' time.
"Tennis is an expensive sport; when you are starting out, you don't make that much money. It all goes on the credit card.
"My parents take an involvement with encouragement, but I would rather they enjoy their lifestyle and I'll try to get through on my own."
Result apart, they would not have enjoyed much about the match. Borwell won the first set on a tie-break, converting the first of three set points when South went long
with what should have been an uncomplicated forehand return. But in the second, Borwell seemed to switch off, as she proceeded to commit the majority of the multitudinous mistakes. It was enough to make one pine for the rain delay that had interrupted play for an hour earlier in the afternoon.
But she broke in the second and fourth games of the decider and was to lose only two more points on her serve as she held on to her advantage and made it through to Wimbledon for only the second time.
A third Briton, No 3 Katie O'Brien, endured a frustrating afternoon against Japan's rising star Ayumi Morita and lost in three sets.
Having conceded the first, the 20-year-old suddenly found her range, beginning the set with a spectacular drive volley on the first point and sustaining the momentum to race into a 4-0 lead. After that, the set went with serve as O'Brien produced four service winners in the final game.
But it was back to the stuttering stuff with which she started the match after that as she was broken three times and tumbled out 6-4, 2-6, 6-1.
Elsewhere, it was a tough day for the tournament's seeds, three of whom were sent packing, most notably last year's semi-finalist Laura Granville who lost in straight sets to Zi Yan.
The highest-ranked to fall was No 10 Klara Koukalova who was beaten 6-4, 6-1 by Jamea Jackson, Borwell's next opponent, while No 11 Catalina Castano also lost in two to Slovakia's Martina Sucha.
Today, reigning champion Maria Sharapova begins her defence with what should be a straightforward match against American Ahsha Rolle. Having reached the last four in a satellite event in Surbiton last week, British No 1 Anne Keothavong starts off her challenge against Greece's Eleni Daniilidou.