The women kicked off the action on the first day of the WTA Mutua Madrid Open with some upsets and epic encounters. The first match to hit the blue clay was the longest one of the day as Marion Bartoli succumbed to Sorana Cirstea in a 6-7 6-4 6-3 loss that lasted just short of three hours. Both players showed their fighting qualities with a total of 21 saved break points, but it was surprisingly Bartoli who blinked first. Vera Zvonareva joined her on the sidelines as she was comprehensively beaten by Petra Cetkovska, 6-2 6-2. In other matches, Sam Stosur and Venus Williams were both pushed to third set tiebreaks but hung on for the wins. Stosur’s match with Petra Martic included just two breaks of serve as the Aussie fought hard to pull out the 7-5 4-6 7-6 victory. Venus had her chances to close out her match with Simona Halep in two sets but was made to fight due to a typically gutsy performance by the Romanian. Mona Barthel also continued to impress as she lost just one game from a 4-2 first set deficit to overwhelm Julia Goerges, 6-4 6-1.