Wild card Sania Mirza came back from the brink to beat Ukrainian Mariya Koryttseva in a grueling three-setter and enter the second round of the USD 4.5 million BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Sania trailed 2-6 1-3 before bouncing back to win the match 2-6 6-3 6-2 and set up a tough clash against 12th seed Italian Flavia Pennetta, who got a first-round bye.
In a contest that ended just three seconds short of being two hours long, Sania was completely outplayed in the opening set in which Koryttseva broke her thrice to clinch it 6-2.
The Indian seemed headed for a straight-set defeat as she trailed 1-3 after being broken once in the second set.
But Sania soon got her act together to save four break points and break back twice to equalise.
The Hyderabadi player dominated the decider and broke an error-prone Koryttseva twice to wrap up the marathon battle in her favour.
In doubles, Sania has teamed up with Taipei's Chia-Jung Chuang and the duo will open its campaign against the Argentine-Israeli team of Gisela Dulko and Shahar Peer.