Though the two players spent three hours and 12 minutes on court the battle lasted far longer, as there was a lengthy rain delay early in the second set - but at the end of the day it was the No.13-seeded Bartoli who pulled out a 76(8) 46 75 victory, losing the second set and falling behind 5-3 in the third but hanging tough and eventually making it past a very hard-hitting and accurate Govortsova.
Bartoli even saved a pair of match points in that 5-3 game - Govortsova netted a crosscourt forehand on the first one, and Bartoli smacked a forehand return winner up the line on the second one.
"It was a very long day," Bartoli said after the match. "I started at 11 o'clock and then again at 2 and we finished at 6, so it was a very long match, and I think the rain delay was to my disadvantage, because I think I was dominating a little bit and I think she was able to regroup in the break. She started to play really well and missed pretty much nothing, and was hitting her backhands really strong and deep. If I lost this match I don't think I'd have any regrets because I was really doing the best I could.
"I was lucky, and I chased the balls down when I had to, and at the end of the day I won."
And the match points? "Well, I just struck the ball," she said. "I didn't think about them being match points, I just wanted to put the ball in. I was getting more and more anxious. Basically, I tried to play each point the best I could and see where it took me. From there I started winning again."
Bartoli's warrior-like attitude helped her defy basic math in the match - while she put together a -5 differential of winners to unforced errors, 40 to 45, Govortsova's crisp ballstriking produced a shining +15 differential of winners to unforced, 57 to 42. But the bottom line went to Bartoli in the end.
"Winning a match like this shows I can last for three hours, physically and mentally," Bartoli said. "To be honest, I would have preferred to win in two straight sets in an hour, but she was putting me on my back foot the whole match, such a long match. And to show at the end of the day I could ramp up a gear and show I wasn't tired at all, that's very encouraging for the rest of the season for me.
"But the crowd really helped me get through in the end as well. I turned one or two things around here, particularly on the match points, and I really have to thank them for all of their support."
Next up will be Colombian qualifier Mariana Duque-Mariño, who had the exact opposite experience from Bartoli, routing Kristyna Pliskova in just 60 minutes, 62 60, a match that was done and dusted before the big rain delay hit. Duque-Mariño hit 27 winners to just 16 unforced errors in the match.
Bartoli and Duque-Mariño will be playing against each other for the first time.
Duque-Mariño is 0-5 against Top 20 players and didn't win a set in any of those matches, but four of those losses were tight two-setters (against Agnieszka Radwanska, Patty Schnyder, Aravane Rezai and Kaia Kanepi) and the other one was a retirement (against Maria Kirilenko at last year's Olympics).