Less than 24 hours after Liudmila Samsonova won the longest tour-level match of 2023, she was surpassed.

Sorana Cirstea's 4-6, 7-6(7), 7-5 first-round upset of No.11 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia at the at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, in which the Romanian saved two match points in the second-set tiebreak, lasted 3 hours and 29 minutes. That exceeded Samsonova's 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-4 win against Paula Badosa in 3 hours and 22 minutes.

Photos: 2023's three-hour matches | 2023's match point saves

Cirstea wasn't the only player going long to take out a seed in Dubai. Anhelina Kalinina needed 3 hours and 3 minutes to beat No.10 Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, recovering in the third set after losing a 5-2 lead in the second. The result was Kalinina's second Top 20 win of the season (following her win over Petra Kvitova at the Australian Open) and sixth in total.

Kalinina will next face fellow Ukrainian, qualifier Dayana Yastremska, who had impressed on Sunday with a clean performance to defeat Alizé Cornet 6-2, 6-3.

More Dubai first-round highlights: Kalinina d. Kudermetova | Bogdan d. Siegemund | Muchova pulls off tweener-lob hot shot | Davis d. Teichmann | Sasnovich d. Masarova | Azarenka d. Pavlyuchenkova | Putintseva d. Martic | Ostapenko d. Zavatska

No.70-ranked Cirstea improved her record against Haddad Maia to 4-1. She had previously won a trio of encounters back in 2016, but Haddad Maia had gained her first win in the series in the first round of Adelaide 2 last month. Cirstea will next face Karolina Muchova, who delivered a tweener-lob shot-of-the-year contender en route to her 6-1, 6-4 win over Bernarda Pera.

Keys to the match: Cirstea had not notched a win over a Top 20 opponent since beating Belinda Bencic in the first round of Cincinnati last August. However, the 32-year-old held her nerve and continued to go for her shots with her back to the wall. As well as saving the pair of match points in the second set, one with a forehand winner, Cirstea came from 4-1 down in the decider to deny Haddad Maia.

Cirstea's aggression was evident in the final stat sheet, which saw her rack up 42 winners to Haddad Maia's 28. The Brazilian was more consistent from the baseline and on serve, and in the first set came up with some spectacular points in the forecourt to maintain her advantage.

However, Haddad Maia paid the price for overly safe rallying and waiting for Cirstea errors in key moments. Deep in the third set, a handful of ill-judged approaches also enabled Cirstea to find winning passing shots.

In Cirstea's words: "I fought really hard today. I really think I gave it all. I have nothing left. Sometimes you just have to stay in there. Bia played amazing. You know, tennis is not fair sometimes. You play for three hours and a half, and it's a difference of a point. But this is tennis, and I'm happy I came on the winning side today. I'm very, very proud of the way I fought.

"I wasn't planning to break the record! But Bia's been in great form, and I knew coming in she's a great fighter. I think this is what tennis is about, where all the work pays off. Sometimes it doesn't matter if it's a first round or a final -- the joy is the same."