Jovanovski, the No.1 seed at the WTA 125K Series event, dropped serve in the opening game but held all eight of her other service games to beat former Top 20 player Virginie Razzano comfortably, 63 62.
The only other seed in action on Day 1 was No.6 seed Karolina Pliskova, but she wasn't as fortunate as Jovanovski, going up a break in both sets but eventually losing to Anna Schmiedlova in two, 63 63.
Other winners were Johanna Larsson, who broke away from 4-all in the second set to beat Petra Martic, 36 64 62; Shahar Peer, who was down 2-0 in the first set but regrouped to beat Sharon Fichman, 75 61; Vesna Dolonc, who won the first eight games of her match and eventually beat Olga Govortsova, 60 64; and Anabel Medina Garrigues, who beat Chinese wildcard Zhang Yuxuan, 63 62.
Medina Garrigues was impressed with Zhang. "She has a good idea how to play - she's different, playing smart, playing high balls and going to the net. She's very talented and will be very good."
A former Top 20 player, Medina Garrigues was impressed with the facilities at the new tournament.
"They have a center court like a Grand Slam almost, and all the outside courts are really good too - I was surprised how good everything was here," the Spaniard said. "I'm really happy that I came here.
"The weather can be a little bit tough, it's raining a lot and it's also pretty humid, but I really have to congratulate the tournament and the tournament's organization, because it's really very, very good."
Ningbo is the third WTA 125K Series stop of the year, following Cali, Colombia in February (which was won by Lara Arruabarrena) and Suzhou, China in August (which was won by Peer). There are two more WTA 125K Series events to come this year - Nanjing, China and Taipei, Chinese Taipei.