Svitolina starts well in Brisbane
Elina Svitolina made the ideal start to the new campaign by defeating Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-4 in the first round of the Brisbane International
The Ukrainian, who enjoyed the best season of her career last year, was rarely troubled by her Spanish opponent and looked at ease throughout her 90-minute workout.
Ana Konjuh, an emphatic 6-1 6-2 winner over Kiki Bertens on Sunday, will take on the No.3 seed in the second round on Wednesday.
"This match was a good example that I can play a high level of tennis," explained Svitolina post-match. "I will try to continue to work, to just be focused on these kind of things.
"That's what important for me, because the Grand Slam and No.1 are all going to come if I have my game, if I'm healthy, if I'm playing my best. That's the focus for now."
Elsewhere on the grounds, Catherine Bellis snapped a five-match losing streak by overcoming Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2 7-5, Lesia Tsurenko shocked Australian No.1 Ashleigh Barty 6-3 6-2 and Sorana Cirstea took out Jennifer Brady 7-6(3) 6-1.
Kristina Mladenovic may be ranked at a lofty No.11 in the world, but her recent form has been dismal. She fell to a 13th consecutive defeat against Aliaksandra Sasnovich and has not registered a victory since July.
Petra Kvitova’s late withdrawal with a virus offered Heather Watson a chance to enter the main draw as a lucky loser, however she was unable to make the most of her reprieve - suffering a heavy loss to Anett Kontaveit.
There was also success for another Estonian. Kaia Kanepi, who battled through qualifying, took out Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-2.
At the Shenzhen Open, Simona Halep made a flawless start to her season. The world No.1 conceded just five games as she dismissed Nicole Gibbs 6-4 6-1 in 68 minutes.
Maria Sharapova was even more impressive in her first match in China. The Russian powered past Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3 6-0 to commence the campaign with promise.
In Auckland, No.2 seed, Julia Goerges, made it 10 wins on the bounce by overcoming Monica Puig 6-4 4-6 6-2 and Petra Martic, Kirsten Flipkens and Su-Wei Hsieh were also victorious.