Miami - World No 1 Simona Halep battled back to eliminate France's Oceane Dodin 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 on Thursday and reach the third round of the WTA Miami Open.
Qualifying lucky loser Dodin led 4-2 in the third set, powered by punishing groundstrokes that at times baffled the top-seeded Romanian, before Halep roared back for the triumph in her first match after an opening bye.
"It was a crazy match," Halep said. "I didn't know where the ball is coming, and I had to pay attention to every shot she hit. But I won it and I'm happy."
Halep will remain atop the WTA rankings no matter how she fares in the Miami fortnight, but Dodin served notice her path will not be an easy one.
"This year, I've had many tough matches, so I'm used to it," Halep said. "I just wanted to stay focused, not give up, and in the end I won the match. I was fighting to the end and that was the most important thing today."
Halep, a runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki in January's Australian Open still chasing her first Grand Slam title, outlasted Dodin after two hours and six minutes despite capturing the final four games.
"It's tough to play against an opponent like this because she hits very strong and you never know where the ball is coming," Halep said.
"I just tried to stay strong in my legs, return the ball and make her move more, because she had trouble hitting the ball as hard as she does when she was on the run."
Halep swatted 20 winners with 26 unforced errors while Dodin made 35 winners but faded to finish with 52 unforced errors and 16 double faults.
Halep next faces Poland's 30th-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska, a former world number two who was a 2012 Wimbledon runner-up.
"I'll have to be more aggressive, find some angles to push her back, and open the court," Halep said. "Hopefully I can win it."
Results on the third day of the WTA and ATP Miami Masters tournament (x denotes seed):
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) bt Tennys Sandgren (USA) 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (8/6)
Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) bt Alex De Minaur (AUS) 6-2, 6-4
Daniil Medvedev (RUS) bt Stefano Tsitsipas (GRE) 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
Dusan Lajovic (SRB) bt Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 3-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4
Denis Shapovalov (CAN) bt Viktor Troicki (SRB) 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (8/6)
Yuki Bhambri (IND) bt Mirza Basic (BIH) 7-5, 6-3
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) bt Donald Young (USA) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Nicola Kuhn (ESP) bt Darian King (BAH) 7-6 (7/4), 6-4
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) bt Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 7-5, 6-4
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) bt Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) 1-6, 6-2, 7-5
Steve Johnson (USA) bt Victor Estrella Burgos (DOM) 6-3, 6-3
Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) bt Calvin Hemery (FRA) 6-1, 6-2
Radu Albot (MDA) bt Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7/4)
Marius Copil (ROM) bt Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6 (7/2), 6-4
Denis Istomin (UZB) bt Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 7-5, 6-4
Frances Tiafoe (USA) bt Nicolas Kicker (ARG) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)
Simona Halep (ROM x1) bt Oceane Dodin (FRA) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
Monica Niculescu (ROM) bt Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK x17) 6-3, 6-3
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x23) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
Karolina Pliskova (CZE x5) bt Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 7-5, 7-5
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x30) bt Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x20) bt Alize Cornet (FRA) 7-5, 6-4
Christina McHale (USA) bt Barbora Strycova (CZE x25) 6-1, 6-4
Angelique Kerber (GER x10) bt Johanna Larsson (SWE) 6-2, 6-2
Zarina Diyas (KAZ) bt Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x18) 6-1, 6-3
Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROM x32) 7-5, 6-2
Sloane Stephens (USA x13) bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-1, 6-3
Alison Riske (USA) bt Caroline Garcia (FRA x7) 6-3, 6-1
Wang Yafan (CHN) bt Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x27) 7-5, 6-3
Carina Witthoeft (GER) bt Julia Goerges (GER x12) 7-6 (7/2), 4-6, 6-4
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) bt Madison Keys (USA x14) 7-6 (7/5), 2-0, retired