World number one Ashleigh Barty battled to a three-set victory in the second round of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Madrid Open.
The Australian star was seeking a 13th consecutive victory on red clay courts when she faced Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek.
Barty claimed the opening set 6-4, but Zidansek stormed back into the match by winning the second 6-1.
The qualifier proved unable to complete the turnaround as Barty regained control of the contest to triumph 6-4 1-6 6-3.
Her reward is a first ever meeting with Poland’s Iga Świątek, with the third round tie a clash between the 2019 and 2020 French Open champions.
Świątek, who earned her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open last year, earned a straight sets 6-3 6-3 win over Germany’s Laura Siegemund today.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Petra Kvitova was among the winners in the women’s event today, as she overcame Germany’s Angelique Kerber in straight sets.
The Czech star will play Russia’s Veronika Eduardovna in the third round.
Eduardovna eliminated Kiki Bertens of The Netherlands triumphing 6-4 6-3.
Bertens was the defending Madrid Open champion after winning the 2019 event, with the 2020 competition cancelled due to COVID-19.
The last match of the day saw a dramatic victory for eighth seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in a contest that finished just after midnight local time.
Bencic recovered from dropping the opening set to beat Bernarda Pera of the United States 3-6 6-1 7-6 in a match that lasted two hours and 40 minutes.
The draw for the men's tournament was released yesterday with the top eight seeds receiving a first round bye.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia is absent after electing not to travel to Madrid.
Rafael Nadal begins as the top seed, with the Spaniard set to face either France's Adrian Mannarino and Spanish wildcard Carlos Alcaraz in round two.
The second seed in the men's event is Daniil Medvedev of Russia, and he will face the winner of the contest between Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and a qualifier.