ISTANBUL, Turkey - From a set down, No.6 seed Petra Martic surrendered just four more games across two sets to deny Tamara Zidansek's upset bid in the first round of the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup.
Returning to action on clay for the first time since reaching the semifinals of the Volvo Car Open, the Croat found herself a set down against the World No.68 after losing serve three times in the opening set, but did not face a break point in sets two and three en route to the come-from-behind victory.
"The match was really tough, I think it was really close. She played really good in the first set," Martic assessed.
"I think I tried to play too aggressive, too flat for the surface and she just counterpunches so well that I couldn't get through her.
"I changed my tactics a little bit in the second set. I was a bit more patient, I was changing the rhythm a bit more, and I think that got her out of her rhythm. I think it worked well in the end."
The win is Martic's first-ever in the Turkish capital, having first appeared at the tournament nine years ago in 2010 and continues her strong start to the spring season.
The 28-year-old made her first Premier-level semifinal on Charleston's green clay, defeating Amanda Anisimova and Belinda Bencic along the way before losing to Caroline Wozniacki.
"I love hard courts, but clay courts are my favorite surface, without a doubt," Martic said. "I'm always happy when the clay court season starts.
"My game, I love to play drop shots, I love to be on clay. In the first set, I was a bit cloudy in my mind, but I just refocused in the second set."
All three first-round matches on the schedule for Monday went three sets, as Sweden's Rebecca Peterson and Russia's Margarita Gasparyan scored wins.
Peterson ended the hopes of home favorite and wildcard Pemra Ozgen, 6-1, 2-6, 6-0, while Gasparyan toiled for over three hours before eventually overcoming Peterson's compatriot Johanna Larsson, 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3.