ACAPULCO, Mexico - Defending finalist Kristina Mladenovic got off to a winning start at this year's edition of the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presentado por HSBC on Tuesday, as she dispatched countrywoman Amandine Hesse with ease, 6-2, 6-2.
Mladenovic arrives in Mexico as the No.2 seed for the second year in a row, returning to the site where she lost in last year's championship to Lesia Tsurenko.
After four straight breaks to begin the opening set where Hesse could not consolidate an early lead, the higher-ranked Frenchwoman took command of the match.
Hitting 12 winners to Hesse's six in the opening set, Mladenovic won the last four games to take a one-set lead, and her run of consecutive games extended to seven as she stamped her authority on the second set.
After Hesse's final forehand found the net to send Mladenovic through to the second round in 70 minutes, the two Frenchwomen - who partnered to win a deciding doubles rubber to send France through to the Fed Cup semifinals earlier this month - shared a lengthy embrace at the net.
For the match, Mladenovic struck 22 winners to 15 unforced errors and broke on six of her 13 opportunities. Her increased aggression and precise shotmaking was too much for the World No.230 to handle, who hit just eight winners to 12 unforced overall.
The No.2 seed will next face Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, who took out Great Britain's Heather Watson in three sets, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.
A rematch of last year's final could be on the cards in the last eight, as No.7 seed Tsurenko takes on qualifier Arina Rodionova in the other second round in the bottom quarter of the draw.