Second seed Peng Shuai fought back from a set down against Aravane Rezai of France to survive a tense opening-round match at the Auckland Classic yesterday.
Fifth seed Julia Goerges of Germany also had a tough three-set encounter when she beat defending champion Greta Arn of Hungary to ensure all eight seeded players progressed to the second round.
Peng, the world No. 17, dropped the first set 4-6 against Rezai, before cashing in on the French woman’s ailing serve to take the next two sets 6-3, 6-4 in a two-hour clash.
“I started off really nervous and it was hard for me to get into the match,” Peng said of her slow start.
Goerges, who lost to Arn in the semi-finals last year, raced to an early 5-2 lead in the first set, before her form fell away.
It required a decisive break in the seventh game of the third set to put her on track for a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 victory.
“I wasn’t really at 100 percent,” Goerges said. “I was sick the whole week, but it’s no excuse. I played a very good player.”
Svetlana Kuznetsova, Yanina Wickmayer and Monica Niculescu also won their first-round matches to join Monday winners Sabine Lisicki and Flavia Pennetta in the next round.
Kuznetsova, the third seed, broke qualifier Alison Riske of the US five times in a quick 6-3, 6-2 match to set up a clash with another American, Christina McHale, who has won both their two previous encounters.
Wickmayer beat Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-4, while Niculescu also had a straight sets win, beating Jamie Hampton 7-6 (7/1), 6-1.