There was a lot written and said in the lead-up to this match between two strong clay-courters but in the end, it was Kiki Bertens who walked away with a second-round victory at the Mutua Madrid Open Monday.
Her late push in both the sets was enough to see off Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 6-3 on Arantxa Sanchez Court at La Caja Magica.
The two had met once before, on grass, with the Dutch star emerging victorious. Bertens started the match with a good hold of serve, but Ostapenko stood firm, holding comfortably as well. She broke in the third game but erred just enough to allow the seventh seed to claw her way back in the set.
Bertens continued to feel the pressure from the Latvian's powerful groundstrokes but maintained her composure to hold serve. The match continued on serve, with Bertens producing some huge serves in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead.
Ostapenko then crumbled on her own service game, allowing Bertens to break to love and take the set in 44 minutes. The Latvian committed 16 errors in the opening set and that cost her dearly.
Knowing that she had to tighten up her game, Ostapenko started strongly with an early break only to be broken back in the subsequent game. The Dutch star then rallied to hold in the third game and Ostapenko reciprocated.
A strong Bertens service hold gave her a 4-3 lead and she then broke the Latvian's delivery for a 5-3 advantage in the second set.
The world number seven continued to dictate proceedings and raced away to a 40-0 lead, holding three match points. Despite one of them getting away from her, Bertens secured the victory following another Ostapenko error, taking the match in 1 hour and 19 minutes.
The 27-year-old will face Anastasija Sevastova in the next round.