Li Na boosted her chances of qualifying for the end of season WTA Championships by winning her opening match at the China Open in Beijing.
The No 7 seed beat Italian Francesca Schiavone 6-2 6-3 in just 85 minutes to book her spot in round two.
The 30-year-old from Wuhan out-played Schiavone from start to finish, with the world No 37 having her serve broken seven times in nine games.
Na sealed victory on home soil by breaking the 2010 French Open champion to love and set up a clash with the in-form Nadia Petrova.
The Russian arrives in China on the back of winning last week's WTA Tour event in Tokyo.
Seven of the top eight players in the world are taking part with Victoria Azarenka of Belarus the top seed.