Keely Hodgkinson started the defence of her 800m European indoor title by winning her first heat in Istanbul.
The Olympic silver medallist will now race alongside fellow Briton Isabelle Boffey in Saturday’s semi-finals.
Last week Hodgkinson claimed the World Indoor Tour title in a British record of one minute 57.18 seconds but on Thursday her 2:01.67 was enough to win.
“I’m happy to qualify and not with a messy race, just clean through,” said Hodgkinson, who turns 21 on Friday.
“Sometimes running at that [slower] pace is actually harder than running what you’re used to, so I’m actually quite tired!
“It will be a nice birthday present to myself if I can defend my title.
“I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I can do everyone proud.”
Britain’s first chance of a medal could come in Friday’s men’s 1500m final, when Neil Gourley – fresh from setting a new British record – will bid for his first major senior medal, as will George Mills.
Elsewhere, Guy Learmonth earned a place in the men’s 800m semi-finals and Melissa Courtney-Bryant and Hannah Nuttall reached the 3,000m final.
High jumper Morgan Lake qualified in eighth place and will compete for a medal on Sunday morning.
You can watch the European Indoor Championships on BBC Two, the BBC Sport website and app, with live coverage continuing on Friday at 05:45-10:30 GMT and 15:30-19:00.