BEIJING, China - Sara Errani held off a first set fightback from Kirsten Flipkens and wound up winning in straight sets, 76(3) 61, as the first round of the Premier Mandatory-level China Open kicked off.
The No.5-seeded Errani stormed out to a 5-2 lead in the first set and had five set points to finish that first set off before the tie-break - three at 5-3 then two more at 5-4 - but she did end up closing the 63-minute first set out in the breaker and then rolled to victory after a lopsided 29-minute second set.
Errani's best friend and doubles partner was also among the winners on Day 1 - Roberta Vinci, the No.10 seed, lost serve in the first game of the match but turned up the heat big time from there, winning 12 of the next 15 games to cruise to a 62 62 victory against Elina Svitolina in 69 minutes.
Other seeds in action were No.11 seed Sloane Stephens, who raced out to a 64 40 lead and eventually finished Aleksandra Wozniak off, 64 64; No.12 seed Carla Suárez Navarro, who won a two-hour, 20-minute grinder against Kristina Mladenovic, 62 36 75; and No.16 seed Simona Halep, who was the only seeded casualty of the day, falling to Urszula Radwanska in a pair of tie-breaks at night, 76(4) 76(2).
Halep actually had leads in both sets - she was up 5-3 in the first set with two set points in that game, and 5-2 in the second set with a set point at 5-4. Radwanska snuck it out every time, though.
Day 2 of the China Open has an absolutely packed line-up, particularly on center court, with three of the Top 4 seeds - Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na - playing their first matches of the week. The No.1-seeded Williams has Elena Vesnina, the No.3-seeded Radwanska has Stefanie Voegele, and the No.4-seeded Li Na has Daniela Hantuchova (Hantuchova leads the series, 4-2).