Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza of Spain survived a lengthy first-round match against Russian qualifier Daria Kasatkina on Sunday in the first round of the Qatar Total Open in Doha.
Muguruza, the 11th seed, squandered a match point in the second set en route to a 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 victory in 2 hours, 49 minutes. Each of the last four meetings between the players have gone to three sets.
Muguruza had her chances for a shorter match when she went up 5-2 in the second set. Kasatkina, a former world No. 10, broke serve in the ninth and 11th games to force a third set, when there were seven consecutive service breaks.
Muguruza broke four times for a 5-3 lead and then served out the match. She faced 30 break points on the day, saving 22.
"I was expecting a tough match," Muguruza said.
"All the matches that we have played have been long and three sets and tough matches. So I was prepared for another type of match like that. I feel like I had a lot of opportunities maybe to step it up earlier, in the first set, in the second set. ... I think I could have played better at certain moments, but in the end it's a victory and I'm happy for it."
Belgium's Elise Mertens, the No. 16 seed and the winner of last year's Qatar Total Open, cruised in her first-round match over China's Wang Qiang 6-1, 6-2 in 64 minutes.
The tournament is the first Premier 5 event of the season.
"It's important to not focus on the win you had last year," Mertens said after the match. "Of course a good feeling you want to stay with. Yeah, of course, the points and the pressure, you really have to deal with that, but I think I'm doing it pretty good, pretty well."
Two Americans advanced to the round of 32. Amanda Anisimova ousted Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3, 7-6 (4), and Bernarda Pera breezed past Caroline Garcia of France 6-3, 6-1.
Tunisia's Ons Jabeur, an Australian Open quarterfinalist who received a wild-card entry into the main draw in Doha, defeated Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2.
Other unseeded winners Sunday were: Belgium's Alison Van Uytvanck, Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic, Czech Karolina Muchova, Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, Germany's Laura Siegemund, Russia's Veronika Kudermetova and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.
Siegemund advances to play World No. 1 and top-seeded Ashleigh Barty of Australia.
--Field Level Media