Former No. 1 Dinara Safina ended a six-match losing streak dating to September when she beat Han Xinyun of China 6-2, 6-0 to start the Malaysian Open on Tuesday.
Since her distinguished career was derailed a year ago by a back injury, Safina has struggled to recover. The Russian's ranking has fallen from 2nd to 113th. The win on Tuesday was only her 10th in the last 12 months. Both games Han won were breaks of serve.
Safina moved on to meet Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, ranked 35th. All of Safarova's latest losses have been to players in the top 45.
Four of the five seeds in action, including defending champ Alisa Kleybanova of Russia, advanced. The only one who didn't was seventh-seeded Kimiko Date-Krumm, who was overtaken by Anne Kremer of Luxembourg 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (5).
No. 2 Marion Bartoli, fresh from a semifinal run in Doha last week, routed Maria Elena Camerin of Italy 6-0, 6-1, No. 3 Kleybanova beat Lu Jing-Jing of China, 6-1, 6-1, No. 4 Jarmila Groth of Australia defeated Sun Shengnan of China 7-6 (2), 6-3, and No. 8 Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia swept past Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand 6-0, 6-1.
Other winners included Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands, Ekaterina Ivanova of Russia, and Japanese pair Kurumi Nara and Misaki Doi.