Zhuhai - U.S. Open finalist Roberta Vinci won her first match at the WTA Elite Trophy, beating Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-4 Wednesday.
One break in each set proved enough for the fourth-seeded Italian, who saved all three break points she faced.
The tournament brings together 11 of the top players who did not qualify for last week's WTA Finals in Singapore, including Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams. Zheng Saisai of China was added to the field as a wild-card entry.
The qualifiers compete in a four-group round robin format, with the winners of each group advancing to the semi-finals.
On Thursday, Kuznetsova will face Wozniacki, needing victory to keep alive her hopes of advancing.
In Wednesday's other singles match, third-seeded Karolina Pliskova beat Jankovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. Pliskova will next meet Sara Errani in her final round-robin match on Thursday.