Two of the 2012 season's breakthrough stars got their 2013 campaigns off to a flying start on Sunday as the inaugural Shenzhen Longgang Gemdale Open kicked off in Shenzhen, China.
WTA Staff

SHENZHEN, China - Day 1 at the inaugural Shenzhen Longgang Gemdale Open was a cracker, with two of the breakthrough stars of 2012 storming through their first matches of the 2013 season.

Hsieh Su-Wei, who won her first two WTA titles in 2012 at Kuala Lumpur and Guangzhou and made it all the way to No.25 in the world by year's end, was the first to win, beating Melinda Czink, 63 62.

"It had been a while since my last match so it was a bit less familiar, but I'm glad I could win my first match of the new season " the No.4-seeded Hsieh said. "I'm satisfied with today's performance. My opponent is a good player who has been doing well in the 2012 season, so I had to go all out."

Hsieh was asked what it was like playing her first match of the 2013 before New Year's even hits. "New Year's Day is coming - I couldn't spend it with family, but it's okay because Chinese New Year is still more than a month away. I'm just hoping to play more matches before the Australian Open.

"I really want to be ready for it and play well in Melbourne."

Joining Hsieh in the second round was another one of 2012's breakthrough stars, Laura Robson. The No.7-seeded Brit didn't even need an hour - just 59 minutes - to beat Edina Gallovits-Hall, 62 61.

"Today I was a little bit nervous before the match because it was my first match in two months - but I was excited to get on court and had played well in practice," Robson said. "I just tried to stay confident and aggressive, and I think I did that today. I'm happy with my first match of the season."

Speaking of the new season, Robson discussed her goals for 2013 as well.

"I haven't really set any ranking goals or anything, but I would love to win my first WTA title - that's my big one," she said. "But really I'll just try and play the best I can in every match this year."

Monica Niculescu and Annika Beck were the other first round winners on Day 1. Beck won a dramatic three-setter against Garbiñe Muguruza, missing out on a 62 51 lead and four match points sprinkled throughout the second set, and eventually closed out her fellow teenager in the third, 62 67(7) 64.

"We've known each other for about five years, and before the draw we were joking maybe we would play each other first round, and it happened!" Beck said. "I had everything under control until 62 51 but then I got passive and she started playing quite well from then. After I lost the match points I told myself to stay calm, and I'm happy I had a good ending in the third. It was a mental fight at the end."

Stefanie Voegele, Kimiko Date-Krumm, Anne Keothavong and Jessica Pegula all secured spots in the main draw of the International-level event with wins earlier on in the final round of qualifying.