Defending champion Simona Halep came from 5-2 down in the final set to beat Roberta Vinci 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7/2) to reach the third round of the Madrid Open on Tuesday.
Halep very nearly became the latest seed to fall in a decimated bottom half of the draw after early exits for Karolina Pliskova, Garbine Muguruza and Johanna Konta.
However, the Romanian bounced back from losing nine of 11 games from 2-2 in the second set to force the deciding set into a tie-break.
And with 34-year-old Vinci sensing her chance had gone, Halep raced through the tie-break to set up a last-16 clash with Australian 16th seed Samantha Stosur.
Andy Murray begins his quest for a third title in Madrid later on Tuesday against Romanian wildcard Marius Copil.
Ninth seed David Goffin became the first man into the third round of the Madrid Masters with a routine 7-6 (7/3), 6-0 win over Germany's Florian Mayer.
Australia's Bernard Tomic was dumped out by Ryan Harrison in his first-round clash 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.
Nicolas Almagro will face second seed Novak Djokovic on Wednesday after beating fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
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