Laura Robson has not enjoyed the best of times since her stunning victory over Petra Kvitova in the Australian Open in January but the 19-year-old Briton showed great resilience to win her opening match in Madrid. Despite losing the first set to Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova, Robson recovered to beat the world No 48 6-7, 6-2, 6-2.
Robson had won only two matches in six tournaments after her return from Melbourne and also suffered disappointment as a member of Britain's losing Fed Cup team in Buenos Aires last month. She made a slow start against Rybarikova, although she recovered from two breaks down to lead 6-5 in the first set before losing the tie-break 7-4.
The Briton's erratic serve has been a problem recently, but from 2-2 in the second set she found a rich vein of form, winning eight games in a row before securing victory after two hours and 13 minutes. Nevertheless, she will do well to make further progress. Her next opponent is the world No 4, Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2, 6-4.
Serena Williams, whose sister Venus has pulled out of the tournament with a back injury, made a sluggish start before overcoming Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva 7-6, 6-1 to earn a second-round meeting with Spain's Lourdes Dominguez-Lino. Williams, who is the defending champion, is seeking her fourth title of the year following her victories in Brisbane, Miami and Charleston. "I felt a little sluggish but I'm happy I was able to win," Williams said.
Caroline Wozniacki suffered her second successive first-round defeat when she was beaten 6-2, 6-4 by Yaroslava Shvedova. Wozniacki, now the world No 10, found some form two months ago with her run to the final in Indian Wells but will need to rediscover it again if she is not to slip further down the rankings.