China's Li Na survived a late fightback from Spain's Maria Martinez Sanchez on Monday as the Asian ace moved into the second round of the ATP-WTA Madrid Masters 6-4, 7-6 (8/6).
Li, who ended a five-match losing streak only days ago in Stuttgart, was comfortably in charge up a set and serving for victory when the home player made her move. Martinez Sanchez managed to take the struggle into a tiebreaker, where Li finally restored order with the victory.
It took one hour, 53 minutes, with Li saving five of seven break points. She next plays Iveta Benesova, who defeated fellow Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-3, 6-2.
Li has returned to her career-high ranking, with her Stuttgart recovery ending her run of loses since the Australian Open final.
Elsewhere in the first round at the Caja Magica complex, Russian Alisa Kleybanova defeated ninth seed Shahar Peer 6-3, 6-2 and Italy's Roberta Vinci followed up her Barcelona title from the weekend with a winning start over Olga Govortsova of Belarus, 6-4, 6-0.