STRASBOURG, France - No.4 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu survived a stern effort from Poland's Magda Linette to lead the way on a soggy first day of main draw play at the Internationaux de Strasbourg on Sunday, toiling for nearly three hours in a 4-6, 7-6(1), 6-3 victory.
A two-time runner-up on tour so far this year, Buzarnescu was the highest-ranked player in action on day one, but had her hands full with a player ranked 35 spots below her.
After posting an early 2-0 lead, the World No.33 lost six of the last eight games to fall behind in the opening-round clash by a set, as Linette broke in a five-deuce seventh game and lost just five points in her final four service games of the opener.
Buzarnescu trailed by a break three times in the second set, but responded each time - including a 10th game in which Linette served for the match - and cruised through to a decider after building a 6-0 lead in the tiebreak.
Linette was not yet beaten, however, as the Polish No.2 built a 3-1 lead in the final set, but ultimately, Buzarenescu ran off the last five games, struck 40 winners and was 8-for-11 on break points won by the end of the match.
No.7 seed Danielle Collins also had a winning start to her campaign as she held off local favorite Amandine Hesse in front of a partisan crowd, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.
The match watch interrupted for nearly an hour early in the decider due to rain, with the start of the day's play having also been delayed due to wet weather. The American cruised through the opening set, but found herself in a tough two-hour battle by the end of the match, where she held off a late comeback effort from the French No.6.
Trailing 4-1 in the final set, Hesse won the next two games and had a 0-40 lead on Collins' serve to level the decider, but could not secure parity and dropped serve on the American's fourth match point.
"I got off to a good start in the first set...but she played some really good games in important moments in the second set," Collins, who struck 39 winners and six aces in the match, said.
"I just had to learn from it and go back out in the third and dictate from there. [The rain delay] happens and it's a part of it, so you can't let that stuff get to you."
In other first round action, Natalia Vikhlyantseva struck 34 winners to Tereza Mrdeza's three to earn a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory over the qualifier, while lucky loser Elena Rybakina defeated Venezuela's Andrea Gamiz, 6-3, 6-1 in the Russian teenager's first tour-level main draw match since reaching the quarterfinals on home soil in St. Petersburg in February.
Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas saw off Polish qualifier Katarzyna Piter, 6-2, 6-4 while China's Wang Qiang defeated another qualifier in Italy's Camilla Rosatello, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Rounding out the early results was Hungary's Reka-Luca Jani, now ranked World No.535 but working her way back from injury, who scored an upset over World No.77 Sachia Vickery, 6-3, 7-5.
Former World No.5 Lucie Safarova, making her first appearance in three months after a lengthy illness, had her scheduled first round match against qualifier Marina Melnikova postponed to Monday.