TOP seed Olivia Rogowska overcame rain delays, a horror first set, crucial service breaks and a 5-1 deficit in the decisive tie-breaker before finally continuing her unbeaten tour to Tasmania.A frustrating day for last week's Burnie International champion eventually saw her reel off six straight points at the Launceston sister-event to beat good friend Sandra Zaniewska 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).
``The first round is always the toughest and I did not get off to the a great start,'' said the 20-year-old Melbournian.
``Once I got into the match I thought I played some pretty good tennis. I was really happy with how I fought and that's what got me through.''
A crowd gathered at the regional tennis centre's No.1 court as word spread that the tournament drawcard was in trouble, but Rogowska dug deep.
Rarely ahead in the contest, she was blown away in the first set, forced to her fourth set point before levelling in the second and down a break from the first game of the third.
Zaniewska, who turned 20 last week, repeatedly hit drop-shots to bring her opponent to the net but fell foul of two luckless net chords as the contest was levelled at 3-3 in the third.
Unable to take a match point in the 12th game of the set, Rogowska made a dreadful start to the tie-breaker, swapping ends at 1-5 down before storming home in style.
``We had some epic points. She's really fit, strong and never gives up. Throughout the whole match I was losing so I just tried to take it one point at a time.''
With both players being of Polish descent, they frequently exchanged compliments in the language and embraced at the net afterwards.
``We speak in Polish to each other and are pretty good friends,'' Rogowska said.
``It's always tough playing a friend in the first round but you just try to forget who you're playing and get on with it.''
In addition to her victory over Irina Khromacheva in the final at Burnie, Rogowska has won other $25,000 tournaments at Alice Springs, Port Pirie, Darwin, Esperance and Sorrento although of equal importance were her first round grand slam wins at both the Australian and French Opens.