Shanghai - Defending Shenzhen Open champion Aryna Sabalenka made a fast start to the new season, blowing away Russian qualifier Margarita Gasparyan in just 71 minutes on Monday.
The world No 11 from Belarus eased to a 6-3, 6-0 victory as she looks to seal a place inside the top 10 for the Australian Open at the end of the month.
The 21-year-old will play Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic or Romanian qualifier Irina-Camelia Begu next in southern China.
"It was a tough match and really tough to start," said the powerful Sabalenka, who won three titles last year in China, including in Shenzhen.
"She's a great player and it was tough to play against her. She has strong strokes. I tried my best and I'm happy I finished with the win."
Gasparyan, 25, reached a career-high 41 in the world in February 2016 but has been beset by injuries.