Heather Watson scores first round win in ASB Classic in Auckland
Last Updated: January 2, 2013 7:15am
Heather Watson consoles Sorana Cirstea after the Romanian withdrew with illness
Heather Watson made a winning start to 2013 with victory in the first round of the ASB Classic in Auckland.
The 20-year-old, who played her part in the success story that was 2012 by becoming the first Briton to win a WTA singles title since 1998, progressed after beating fifth seed Sorana Cirstea.
However, it wasn't quite the workout she was looking for after the 22-year-old Romanian was forced to retire through illness.
Cirstea had been suffering from a virus in the lead up to the tournament and although there were no visible signs of her struggling during the match, she withdrew after receiving lengthy medical assistance once she'd dropped the first set 6-3.
"It was unfortunate today for Sorana, she told me she's had a virus for the past week, which sucks, coming all of this way and not feeling well," said British No,1 Watson, who will face Kiki Bertens of Holland in round two.
"But I was really excited to get out there today and play my first singles match.
"I thought that I served very well, around the baseline I was a bit slow and wasn't able to keep too many balls in play, but I'm looking forward to my next match now."
Top seeds Agnieszka Radwanska and Julia Goerges eased through their opening matches on New Year's Day.
Polish top seed Radwanska came through 6-2 6-2 against 2011 champion Greta Arn to set up a second-round clash with Simona Halep of Romania.
And second seed Georges also enjoyed a straightforward win, beating Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-4.
Also on Tuesday, sixth-seeded Yaraslava Shvedova defeated Lara Arrubarrena-Vecino in straight sets, while eighth seed Mona Barthel was a 6-1 6-3 winner over Grace Min of the United States.
Romina Oprandi dropped only two games in beating Nudinga Luangnam and Marina Erakovic saw off Stephanie Dubois for the loss of three games.