The Belgian came out firing on all cylinders to take the first four games of the match before Martic was able to make any inroads at all. But an initial break of the Mertens serve was enough to put some doubts in her mind and the more experienced Martic, 27, was then able to quickly erase the lead and level proceedings – her own serve proving the primary weapon.
Regardless, Mertens managed to stand firm and eventually brought up a set point before Martic forced a tiebreaker. Riding high on the baseline and dictating play with her penetrating groundstrokes, the Belgian continued to look the stronger and thus it proved, as she created some space in the tiebreaker and held on to clinch it.
With neither player having reached the last eight at a major – and in this, their first meeting – not an inch was given as the second set began. Mertens continued her pressure and earned herself an early service break before Martic requested the trainer and eventually left the court for treatment.