Illawarra star Jessica Hull has stamped herself as a medal contender on day one of the world athletics championships in Budapest.
The 26-year-old led a trio of Australians into the women's 1500m semi-finals which will be run in the early of Monday (AEST).
Hull controlled the last of the four heats, running in the top two throughout and crossed the line second in four minutes 03.50 seconds, just behind Ethiopian Hirut Meshesha.
"It's not really a secret any more - that's the way I like to run," Hull, who is looking to improve on her seventh-placed finish at last year's world championships in Eugene, Oregon, said.
"I like to have free running room, I like to feel close to the auto qualifying spots, I don't like to run from behind. Why change it now?
"I know from experience now that there are some women here who run today like it's their final so you've got to respect that, know they're going to run hard and try to knock you down a bit."
National record holder Linden Hall - who felt unwell before and after her race - snuck through to the semis after finishing sixth in the quickest of the four heats in 4:01.45.
Birmingham Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Abbey Caldwell (4:04.16) also advanced to the semis.
A strong semi would add even more gloss to Hull results this year.
She broke the Australian and Oceania mile (1.61km) record in Oslo and the national 1500m record in Doha in June.
Then, late July in Monarco when she decided to race the mile at the Monaco Diamond League, Hull sliced another 2.90 seconds off the record when she stopped the clock at 4:15.34 for fifth place.
In other Australian news on day one of the world champs, two-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist Brooke Buschkuehl, was left in tears when she crashed out in the qualifying round of the women's long jump.
Buschkuehl could only 6.55m, 58cm shy of her personal best.
Countrywoman Samantha Dale (6.35m) also failed to advance.
Spain's Alvaro Martin claimed the first gold medal of the championships with victory in the men's 20km walk in one hour, 17 minutes and 32 seconds.
Declan Tingay was the leading Australian in eighth spot in a PB of 1:18:30.
Rhydian Cowley was 14th and Kyle Swan was 40th in a race where the start was delayed by two hours due to early-morning thunderstorms in the Hungarian capital.
Australian Associated Press
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