Former world number two Vera Zvonareva, who has plummeted to 250 in the rankings, took her first steps in a 2015 comeback attempt by ousting home favourite and number three seed Peng Shuai at the Shenzhen Open on Monday.
The 30-year-old was a finalist at both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010 but has since been dogged by injury and illness.
Peng, China`s top women`s player following the retirement of Li Na last year, took the first set in their first round match but the Russian ground out the last two to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 24 minutes.
Top seed and world number three Simona Halep survived a scare against Annika Beck of Germany.
The world number 55 broke Halep to take a 3-2 lead in the deciding set, but the Romanian took the next four games to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Czech second seed and world number four Petra Kvitova took an hour to sweep aside home wildcard Duan Yingying 6-3, 6-1.