Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova battled to a 6-2 6-7 7-5 victory over compatriot Alisa Kleybanova to advance to the second round of the Sydney International.
The third-seeded Kuznetsova, ranked number six in the world, dropped her serve three times during the clash and fell 3-0 behind in the deciding set before breaking back to dominate the set and the match.
"I pushed back when I needed most and it worked for me. I played good at the important moments in the third set," said Kuznetsova.
"I need some matches, I am happy in some way to play a long match today.
"It's not good for me not to close (out the match) when I have too but to have a long fight it's also good because you play lots of points and you get adjusted to the court and get tested."
In other first round action, Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia sailed to a straightforward 6-3 6-0 triumph over Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano and will face a second-round clash against defending champion Elena Dementieva, who disposed of Italian Francesca Schiavone 6-2 7-5.
Top-seeded Serena Williams, who has a first-round bye, is scheduled to play her opening singles match on Tuesday.
The world number one was drawn for a potential second-round clash with Justine Henin, but the Belgian sustained a leg injury during her Brisbane International final defeat to compatriot Kim Clijsters and had to withdraw from the Sydney event.