In women’s play, second seed Maria Sharapova, winner of the last two editions, started with a 6-2, 6-2 defeat of Spain’s Garbine Muguruza.
“This is a meaningful tournament for me,” Sharapova said. “This is one of the tournaments I’ve won a couple of times and I’ve also been playing here since I was really young.”
World No. 3 Victoria Azarenka was equally untroubled by Julia Goerges beating the German 6-2, 6-0.
Former Roland Garros winner and fifth seed Li Na won a battle with Chinese countrywoman Zheng Jie 6-3, 6-1.
“It’s always tough to play someone from the same country,” Li said. “We were in the national team together, and we trained and practised for a long time together.”
“It’s like being twins on the tour, and it’s tough to fight against each other on the court, but I was really happy I could beat her today,” she said.
Li reached the final in Rome last year where she lost a three-set thriller to Sharapova.
Australian ninth seed Samantha Stosur, the 2010 beaten finalist in Paris, beat another Chinese player, Peng Shuai 7-6 (7/5), 6-0.