A difficult summer for Safarova brought just two wins in four outings, and her 7-5, 6-3 triumph will provide some much-needed confidence heading into the final stretch of the season.
In a closely contested opening set, the Czech whipped a brilliant forehand return to claim the decisive break in the penultimate game then held onto the momentum to take her place in the second round, where she will face compatriot and No.5 seed Karolina Pliskova.
Belinda Bencic takes a rough fall on court vs. Kuznetsova. Tripped over her foot and landed on her backside. Worrisome given past injury.
? WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) 25 September 2016
The Swiss teenager began the year in fine fashion, reaching the second week of the Australian Open and becoming the youngest player in nearly seven years to break into the Top 10.
Since then, though, it has been one injury mishap after another; a back injury stalled her progress in spring - forcing her to miss the French Open - before a wrist problem forced her to retire from Wimbledon then pull out of the Olympics.
"I felt it in exactly the same place where I was injured - I think it's the coccyx bone. I'm going to get some tests to figure out more, and we will see," Bencic said.
Def one of the thoughest years for me ever. But every single one of your supporting messages are making me feel better. THANK YOU everyone??