MADRID, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Chinese tennis star Li Na had to work hard in the second set of her match against Spaniard Gabine Muguruza Blanco before progressing to the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open.
Li beat Blanco 6-2, 6-4.
Li got off to a flying start by breaking her rivals serve in the very first game, before holding her own serve with few problems.
Muguruza held her next serve, but Li also held, before again breaking her rival and holding her own serve to race into a 5-1 lead. Li was showing her superiority in the serve and every time she was able to get her first serve in, the Spaniard struggled to return.
Li then held her next serve to comfortably win the first set 6-2.
The first four games of the second set went with serve, but Na Li looked to have made a vital breakthrough when se again broke Muguruza's serve in the fifth game only for her rival to show spirit and break right back to make it 3-3.
Li dug deep and again took an advantage with a break of serve, but in what was turning into a thrilling second set, Muguruza refused to accept defeat and again broke back following a mammoth eighth game.
The ninth game was not going to change the habit of broken serves and again Li edged in front. This time however, the World number 8 held her nerve to serve out the match and progress into the last 32.
Earlier in the day the most important result was Venus Williams' marathon three set triumph against Rumanian, Halap Simona after winning a third set tiebreak after 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Fighting back to full fitness, Williams was in cruise control as she won the first set 6-1. Simona reacted well to take the second set 6-4.
Williams found herself staring defeat in the face after falling a break down in the final set, but was able to break back in the ninth game. Both players then held serve to take the match to a decisive tie-break in which Williams' experience was perhaps decisive.
Simona's fellow Romanian, Sorana Cirstea had better luck as she provided the first major shock of the tournament by knocking seventh seed, Marion Bartoli out in three sets, 6-7(8), 6-4, 6-3.