The No.4-seeded Li was the first of the pair to advance, storming out to a 61 31 lead then falling into a holding pattern en route to a 61 64 win against former Top 15 player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
"Of course the first match is always tough, especially here because I didn't play any tournaments for three or four weeks after Wimbledon, but I was feeling pretty good," Li said. "I was still a little bit nervous out there, which is natural, but I was fighting a lot on the court and I'm happy to win today."
What's the biggest difference between the practice matches she has been playing and these matches?
"In practice, if you make a mistake, you say, 'Okay, who cares? It's practice,'" Li said. "But in a match, if you miss a shot, they take a point. Sometimes I feel like I'm playing very well in practice but then I'll come to a match and get nervous, and I'll only play 60% or 80% of what I can play. So it's tough."
"I was surprised I started so well, honestly - I hadn't played on hardcourt for a while, and also the last two times I played in Toronto I lost first round," Bartoli told reporters. "So I just wanted to enjoy myself on the court and try my hardest, and being able to win 60 63 was obviously pretty good for me. I think I played well, and I'm very pleased with the way I handled everything on the court today."
Bartoli was actually scheduled to play the last two weeks in California, but had to pull out of both events with a hamstring injury. "My hamstring is getting better and better," she said. "I just need to take care of it every day. I was able to work with my physio back home and do some rehabilitation and strength work on it so it gets stronger. The summer season is a grueling season - you have to be really fit and ready - so I'm working on it on a daily basis to make sure I'm getting stronger and stronger."
Also among the seeded winners were No.5 seed Sara Errani, who rallied from 4-2 down in the second set to close Klara Zakopalova out in straight sets, 62 76(2); No.10 seed Roberta Vinci, who also rallied from 4-2 down in the second set to win her match in straight sets, beating Ekaterina Makarova, 60 64; No.14 seed Sloane Stephens, who beat Mona Barthel, 63 46 63; and No.15 seed Jelena Jankovic, who saved two set points in the second set to edge Canadian wildcard Sharon Fichman, 64 76(6).