Ryan Peniston reckons his handling of hard-hitting Jiri Vesely’s serve propelled him to victory at the LTA’s Lexus Surbiton Trophy.
The Southend star, who is supported by the LTA’s Pro Access Programme, stormed to a 6-4 6-2 triumph over the former world No.35 in West London.
Peniston, 27, will now play Jason Kubler after the Australian’s 6-1 7-6 (4) victory over Gijs Brouwer.
And the Essex ace, who memorably reached the second round of Wimbledon last summer, was delighted to battle past a tricky customer like Czech star Vesely with relative ease.
He said: “It is tough to say because he has got such a big serve and he is such a good player.
“I was always expecting to have a tough match, but even though the score might have seemed a bit comfortable, it definitely wasn’t.
“He has got some big shots and I just did my best out there, I am just happy to get the win.
“You prepare for a serve like that by getting your coach to stand on a chair and fire balls at you.
“It is tough, not many people serve like that in the world – you maybe get a bit used to it during the match, but it is definitely difficult to return.”
Peniston was broken in the first game of the match but recovered to seal an eventually comfortable victory.
The start of the LTA’s Lexus Surbiton Trophy symbolises the beginning of another exciting season of grass court action.
Earlier in the day, Andy Murray cemented his place alongside Peniston in the round of 16 with a 6-3 6-2 win against Hyeon Chung.
Peniston is relishing his return to the grass after a successful 2022 and added: “I am so excited to be back on grass – last year was so much fun to be out there.
“I am just really happy to be back out on the green stuff and competing in front of a home crowd.
“This is where the grass season starts, last year I was able to get two really good wins and carry that form throughout the season.
“I’m hoping this year we can maybe do the same.
“I am really happy with my performance and very happy to start the tournament off like that.
“I just hope I can take it into the next one, I am just excited to be in the last 16.”
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website