Nicole Vaidisova began her 2009 season with a win in the first round of the ASB Classic tournament in Auckland.
The Czech teenager, already a winner of six WTA singles titles, is looking to comeback from a 2008 that was marred by injury.
The sixth seed took almost two and a half hours to see off world number 71 Alla Kudryavtseva 7-6 4-6 7-5.
She squandered two match points while serving at 5-3 in the third set but converted match point number three against the serve.
Vaidisova said: "It's hard when you know you've had two match points on your serve, but I tried to hang in there, especially mentally.
"It's the first week and I don't think you pay as much attention to how (your opponent) plays as what you're trying to do. You try to do things that you practiced for two months."
It was a good day for the seeds as all four who played progressed to the second round. The fourth-seed Aleksandra Wozniak beat Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3 6-7 7-5.
Third-seeded Anabel Medina Garrigues, of Spain, was able to get past Italy's Mara Santangelo 7-5 6-0 and Shahar Peer, seeded number five, beat Petra Cetkovska 7-6 6-2.
Outside of the seeded players there was a match between two veterans as 34-year-old American Jill Craybas faced 38-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm of Japan.
Date Krumm, a former world number four playing in her first professional tournament outside of Japan for 12 years, crashed to a 6-3 6-4 defeat.