Russian wildcard Maria Sharapova beat No. 16 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 7-6(3), 5-7, 7-6(7) in the first round of WTA China Open here on Saturday.
In the duel lasting three hours and five minutes, the five-time major champion nabbed an early break of Sevastova's serve to storm to a 1-0 lead. After wasting three match points, the veteran grabbed the chance at the fourth and sealed the win.
"Now I am happy that I am still moving forward. I think this is a good sign as she (Sevastova) is the person who beat me before," Sharapova said.
Sharapova was ousted by Sevastova in the fourth round of the 2017 U.S. Open.
In an all-Czech match, 12th-seeded Petra Kvitova stunned Kristyna Pliskova, who is world No. 4, 6-3, 7-5. Kvitova had been knocked out by China's Peng Shuai in the first round of Wuhan Open four days ago.
In other first round matches, No. 2 seed Simona Halep of Romania beat American Alison Riske 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in 132 minutes, while WTA top-ranked Angelique Kerber of Germany eased past Naomi Osaka of Japan 6-2, 7-5.
On lotus court, home star duo Wang Qiang/Wang Yafan crashed out of the women's doubles first round after losing to Dutch-German duo Kiki Bertens/Julia Goerges 7-5, 6-3, while another Chinese pair Han Xinyun/Liangchen advanced to the next round.