GUANGZHOU, China - Former World No.12 Sabine Lisicki made a winning start to her week at the Guangzhou International Women's Open on Monday with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Vera Zvonareva.
The German scored her first WTA win of any kind since February with a 73-minute victory, as she served seven aces and broke the two-time Grand Slam finalist six times.
Lisicki scored her first-ever win against the former World No.2 in five career meetings, as the two were facing off for the first time in seven years in the opening round contest.
"In windy conditions, it's tough to play, so you have to focus more and use your footwork more," Lisicki said after the match.
"I'm very, very happy to have won the match today. It's great to see Vera back and I'm also coming back, so I'm happy with every match that I win."
Competing in just her fifth WTA event since March, Lisicki was broken to begin the match, but quickly rebounded to win four straight games to take command of the opener.
However, the Russian asserted herself in a big way from there, winning 12 straight points and three straight games to knot the action at 4-4 before Lisicki held serve in the ninth game and scored her third break of the set to win it in just over 30 minutes.
Though Lisicki held in a marathon, eight-deuce game of the second set, she again fell behind an early break after surrendering serve in the third game.
However, the 2013 Wimbledon finalist did not drop another game after that, and ripped off the last five in succession to secure a first victory against the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up in a head-to-head which dates back to 2010.
Lisicki will next face No.5 seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan, who defeated Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo, 6-1, 6-1.
"It's fun to be back - I love this tournament. I played well here the last time I was here, and that's why I chose my last protected ranking for this tournament," Lisicki added.
"I'm happy to be healthy and that I can play one more match."
In other first round action, American Bernarda Pera defeated Poland's Magdalena Frech, 7-6(3), 6-1; France's Fiona Ferro defeated Chinese wildcard and junior US Open champion Wang Xiyu, 6-3, 6-3; and No.7 seed Vera Lapko defeated American Vania King, 6-2, 6-1.