World No.1 Iga Swiatek broke new ground at the Mutua Madrid Open on Monday night, advancing to the quarterfinals of the event for the first time with a gritty 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3 victory over No.16 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Swiatek took 2 hours and 25 minutes to collect the win after a second-set comeback from match point down by last year’s Madrid semifinalist Alexandrova. The match ended after 1 a.m. local time in Madrid.

"That wasn’t an easy match," Swiatek said afterward. "In the second set, I had the lead and I lost it, so for sure it wasn’t easy, but I’m pretty happy that I could reset in the third. I was ready, I got a break pretty early, so overall I’m happy with the performance."

With a win in their first clay-court meeting, Swiatek edges ahead 2-1 in her overall head-to-head with Alexandrova.

Read more: The elite eight of Madrid: Who made the cut

Swiatek will next meet No.27 seed Petra Martic in the quarterfinals. Martic moved into her second career Madrid quarterfinal with a 6-3, 7-6(1) upset of No.11 seed Barbora Krejcikova.

Fast facts: Since the start of 2020, Swiatek has won 44 clay-court matches on the Hologic WTA Tour, more than any other player on this surface during that timeframe.

Despite that, Swiatek has yet to master Madrid. In her only previous appearance at the event, Swiatek fell to Ashleigh Barty in the 2021 Round of 16. Swiatek missed the event last year, in the midst of her 37-match winning streak, with a shoulder injury.

This year, Swiatek is posting career-best results in the Spanish capital. The World No.1 was forced to three sets for the first time this fortnight Monday, but she prevailed by converting five of her six break points and winning over half of Alexandrova's second-serve points.

Match moments: Sturdy returns by Alexandrova, coupled with 10 unforced errors by Swiatek in the first four games, gave the No.16 seed an early 3-1 lead. However, Swiatek cleaned up her game and hit only four unforced errors in the next 10 games, easing to a 6-4, 4-1 lead.

However, Alexandrova's powerful game came alive at the tail end of the second set. With Swiatek serving for the match, Alexandrova crushed a backhand return winner to break for 5-4, then saved a match point with a putaway to make it 5-5. Alexandrova hit three aces in the tiebreak to steal the second set.

But Swiatek regrouped in the third set, with bold returns giving the top seed a quick break for 2-1. Swiatek ended the encounter in dominant fashion, winning the final eight points of the match.

Martic awaits: Earlier on Monday, Martic held off a second-set comeback by Krejcikova in the first meeting between the pair to match her Madrid quarterfinal result from 2019 and set up a showdown with Swiatek.

Krejcikova saved two match points at 5-3 in the second set, and she eventually held four set points of her own at 6-5. But Martic held her nerve to fend all of those set points off and send the second set into a tiebreak, where she dominated 2021 Roland Garros champion Krejcikova. 

Highlights: Martic def. Krejcikova

In their only prior meeting, Swiatek defeated Martic 6-1, 6-3 on the hard courts of Indian Wells in 2021.