With her home crowd firmly behind her, French No.1 Marion Bartoli saved two match points - including one with a return winner - to beat Olga Govortsova on Court Philippe Chatrier on Tuesday.
WTA Staff

PARIS, France - Inspired by a very supportive home crowd, French No.1 Marion Bartoli battled back from the brink of defeat to win her opening match against Olga Govortsova on Tuesday afternoon.

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).