Daria Gavrilova says she has nothing to lose heading into her second round Australian Open showdown against sixth seed Petra Kvitova.
The young Australian was a first-round casualty at Melbourne Park last year but steamed ahead to a 7-6 (6-3) 6-4 win over Czech veteran Lucie Hradecka in her 2016 opener.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova will be a major step up on her 53-ranked compatriot but Gavrilova felt she had the form to beat anyone after starting the year with a Hopman Cup triumph.
Since the 2015 Open, the 21-year-old has rocketed up the rankings from world No.187 to 39th.
Gavrilova said she was a bundle of nerves against Hradecka but would feel much more at ease in her second appearance in front of a vocal home crowd.
“I think next round I will be a lot calmer,” Gavrilova said.
“I’ve got nothing to lose.”
Gavrilova almost toppled the world No.7 in China, leading 5-3 in the third set only for Kvitova to romp home 7-5.
“I got pretty close and was serving for it but then I lost the next four games in like two minutes,” Gavrilova said.
“She hits the ball pretty hard and has a good serve so I will have to work very hard and run a lot to survive all those big shots.”
The Russian-born player pulled out of the Sydney tournament with a recurring abdominal injury but moved well against Hradecka.
Kvitova was under a fitness cloud after also pulling out of Sydney with gastro but proved her recovery with a commanding 6-3 6-1 win over Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum.
The illness started during a tournament in Shenzhen in early January.
“First rounds are always very tough and for me it was my first match of the season so I’m really glad how I did,” Kvitova said.