MADRID, Spain - After nearly two-and-a-half hours on court and at 2:17 AM in the Caja Magica, Laura Siegemund capped a marathon first day at the Mutua Madrid Open with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Johanna Konta.
On a day when all six matches on the Manolo Santana Court went the distance, Siegemund and Konta did not take the court until 11:42 PM local time, well before the German rallied from 0-3 down in the deciding set.
"I think I stepped it up a lot in the third and I played very well," the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix champion said. "I needed depth in my strokes and put pressure on her. I never started this late, but I was trying to not think about that. I was trying to take it very professionally. There's a lot of things to get stressed out about - you're tired, it's long, it's cold, all that but I just tried to...focus on the match."
Though both players struck 27 unforced errors in the match, it was the aggressive Siegemund whose all-court game continued to reap rewarded on clay this spring, as she hit 29 winners to dwarf Konta's 19.
A break for the No.6 seed in the opening game was nearly enough to see her through to a one-set lead, as she added an insurance break in the seventh game to lead 5-2.
Unable to serve out the opener in her first chance, as Siegemund broke for the first time at love, Konta hit back in the ninth game and pocketed a one-set lead on a forehand winner.
Konta twice rallied from a break down in the second set, and put herself one game away from the win as she won three straight from 2-4 down. Undaunted, however, Siegemund held serve to 15 to even the set at 5-5, as she won the last three games of the set to send the match to a decider.
"It's something I have to learn, just bouncing back after even nice wins," the World No.30 assessed. "It's not easy to come back after a good week like Stuttgart - a lot of stuff going on, maybe outside of playing. It's important to take care of you body, of your mind and find rest. I was doing the best I could this week."
Siegemund got the deciding set back on serve with a break in the fifth game, before saving four break points on her own delivery to level the set at 3-3. Her momentum continued from there, as she won eight straight points and a pair of love games that ran her overall streak to five, before closing out the match a short time later on her first match point.
Siegemund will face the winner of the first round match between CoCo Vandeweghe and lucky loser Anett Kontaveit for a place in the third round.