US Open champion Coco Gauff has made a winning return to action at the China Open in Beijing.
The American defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-5 6-3 in her first match since lifting her maiden grand slam title in New York last month.
Russian Alexandrova fought back after Gauff won Monday’s opening four games, but the American broke serve again to take the first set and an early break in the second proved enough.
“It wasn’t the best level to be honest, but I’m happy with the way I was able to fight through,” said the 19-year-old, who extended her winning run of matches to 13.
Second seed Iga Swiatek, playing her first WTA event in China, defeated Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-4 6-3.
The Pole was particularly effective at the net, winning 15 out of 17 points, and next meets Frenchwoman Varvara Gracheva.
“Today I felt really confident and comfortable because I’ve been practising that a lot,” Swiatek said. “I’m pretty proud of my performance at the net because, technically, I feel like my volley has changed. I’m really happy with that.
“I think against some players it’s necessary to go to the net and today that was that kind of a match.”
Fresh from her triumph in Ningbo last week, world No.7 Ons Jabeur eased past 19-year-old Osaka champion Ashlyn Krueger 6-3 6-4.
“I played the next generation,” said Jabeur. “She’s going to be one of the top players in the future.”
The Tunisian, who is looking to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals, plays Marta Kostyuk in the second round.
In the round of 32 Daria Saville, the only Australian in the draw, went out 6-2 7-6 (7-5) to Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina.
Two-time former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova hit out at the scheduling after her 6-4 7-5 loss to Liudmila Samsonova.
Writing on X, formerly Twitter, the Czech said: “Far from ideal to finish my match at the @ChinaOpen at 1am and then be back on the schedule at NB 5:30pm the next day when some first round matches had yet to be played.
“I have always played the sport with huge respect and rarely speak out, but this time I feel strongly enough to say that there *has* to have been a fairer option. Please do better for your players @WTA.”