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Top seed Sorana Cirstea crashed out of the Guangzhou Open in the first round Tuesday, but British number one Laura Robson powered through as she looks to repeat last year's final appearance.
Robson defeated Cirstea in the semi-finals 12 months ago, but the Romanian failed to overcome her first hurdle this year when she was well beaten by Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski 6-2, 6-1.
Robson, seeded third this time, eased through to the second round with victory over Serbian Jovana Jaksic 6-2, 6-4 in her opening game.
Robson will next play home hope Zheng Saisai, who won a gruelling 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 7-5 tie against Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum which lasted two hours 50 minutes.
In Tuesday's other first-round matches, Austrian Yvonne Meusburger beat Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko 6-3, 6-4, and Serbian Vesna Dolonc overcame Poland's Urszula Radwanska 7-5, 6-2 in a hard-fought game which lasted almost one hour 50 minutes.
Current champion Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan sailed through her first-round match on Monday.