Jovanovski managed just one game in her last match against former French Open champion Li Na in Beijing two weeks ago. But on Monday against another former Roland Garros winner, Schiavone, she fared better in securing a 64 63 victory. The eighth-seeded Serb closed especially strong in each set, as she won the last four games of the first set from 4-2 down, including the last 10 points, and the last three games of the second set from 3-3, including the last eight points.
"I started a little bit badly with my serve," Jovanovski said. "But I found my game in the middle of the first set and all the way through the second. First rounds indoors are always tough. I needed time to get used to it, but for a first match I played really well."
After being plagued by back and wrist injuries for much of this season, Jovanovski has come on as of late, with a run that has included 14 wins in her last 16 matches, a WTA title in Tashkent and a WTA 125K Series title in Ningbo.
"I didn't play many tournaments this year because of injuries and wasn't able to practice too much," Jovanovski said. "I'm really happy I've played really well at the end of the year, winning two titles and beating good players. Maybe because I didn't expect too much and have been relaxed."
Also among those winning their openers was Monica Niculescu, who in her only other appearances here made her first two WTA finals in 2011 and 2012.