Marion Bartoli won her fifth and biggest career title here a year ago and got off to a winning start at the Premier stop again, beating Ashley Harkleroad in straight sets on a sunny Monday afternoon.
Bartoli, who beat Venus Williams in the final last year and is the No.4 seed this year, came out on fire against Harkleroad, taking the first set in 27 minutes; she went down a break early in the second set but won anyway, 6-1 6-4.
Ater her opening round win Bartoli stated "I'm really happy about my season so far and I'm hoping to continue like that, I'm desperate to be back in the final of a Grand Slam. That's my main goal. My second goal is to have a one digit ranking, but that will come with my results."
Other seeds advancing in the day session were No.6 seed Shahar Peer, who rebounded after a first set blowout to beat Daniela Hantuchova, 0-6 6-4 6-3; No.7 seed Yanina Wickmayer, who beat Chan Yung-Jan, 6-3 6-1; and No.8 seed Victoria Azarenka, who blew past Ayumi Morita in 53 minutes, 60- 6-2.
In the feature night match, Maria Sharapova got some revenge for a loss to Zheng Jie earlier in the year, beating the Chinese in a tight two-setter, 6-4 7-5. Sharapova, who had lost the pair's last meeting at Indian Wells, squandered a match point serving for the match at 6-4 5-4, but closed it out shortly afterwards.
"Our match at Indian Wells was a really scratchy match. I wasn't playing very well there," Sharapova said. "Today I served really well but returned quite poorly. I returned well when I had to, but I'll work on that going forward. Improving with every match is really the goal, and working myself towards the Open."
In the last match of the night, American No.3 Melanie Oudin took on Canadian No.1 Aleksandra Wozniak, a champion here in 2008. Wozniak saved three set points to win the first set and held a 5-1 lead with match point in the second set but Oudin mounted a dramatic comeback, eventually prevailing, 6-7(6) 7-5 6-3.
Maria Kirilenko and qualifiers Olga Savchuk and Christina McHale also won.