Perth teenager Maddison Inglis will set her sights on the Australian Open after a first-round loss at the Hobart International.
Inglis, 17, started confidently against world No.61 Margarita Gasparyan on Sunday but the Russian was too powerful and closed out the match 6-4 6-3 in about 80 minutes.
Despite the result, Inglis said the encounter helped her overcome nerves.
“I had a few chances at the start and I was really nervous in the warm up so I was surprised how I felt going out there. I was pretty relaxed,” she said.
“It’s not that scary, so I’ll take that into next week.”
Inglis last month earned entry to her first grand slam at Melbourne Park after defeating Arina Rodionova in the women’s wildcard playoff.
She now faces the greatest challenge of her career with limited singles match practice in the lead-up.
“I’ve still got doubles here and then off to Melbourne,” Inglis said.
“It was a good experience, I had a few chances, that’s always good.”
Later on day one of competition in Hobart, top-seed Italian and world No.35 Camila Giorgi takes on Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas.
Giorgi’s standing in the tournament was boosted after Saturday’s withdrawal of American Sloane Stephens, who cited a viral illness after her victory in the Auckland Classic.
Canadian Eugenie Bouchard is arguably the biggest drawcard of the tournament, with the former world No.5 working to rebuild her ranking after an injury-enforced absence.
Bouchard is expected to play her round-one match against veteran American Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Monday.