Defending champion Caroline Garcia made a strong start to her campaign in Strasbourg as she beat Jennifer Brady.

STRASBOURG, France - Defending champion Caroline Garcia made a strong start to her campaign at the Internationaux de Strasbourg, fending off Jennifer Brady 6-3, 6-4.

"I felt good," said the Frenchwoman afterwards. "I'm very happy to be back here. It's never easy to get back into a tournament, and I have great memories from last year at Strasbourg.

"It was not an easy match because I didn't know her very well, and she has a great serve and great forehand."

Garcia was rarely troubled in the first set, getting an early break and leaving the American trailing, taking it in just 40 minutes.

Garcia broke in the first game of the second set too - but her 22-year-old opponent broke right back, capitalising on a slew of errors to grab a toehold.

Invigorated with fresh confidence, Brady made her opponent's life much tougher - but the defending champion fought through.

"I could have done better in the second set," said Garcia afterwards. "I lost my serve, but I'm happy to be through in two sets."

Garcia's triumph was a relief for the home crowd. Earlier, Peng Shuai had knocked out another Frenchwoman, Alizé Cornet, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.

The 27-year-old had looked solid in the opening set, but the Chinese player fought hard to grab the second set and force a decider.

Cornet's game fell apart in that third set, and Peng seized control to take a deserved win.