The Chinese star opened her bid for her biggest title on home soil in stunning fashion by winning every game in the first set against Daniela Hantuchova, much to the enjoyment of her fans at Beijing’s National Tennis Centre.
But the world number five had to overcome a late surge from her Slovakian opponent which sent jitters through the home crowd.
Joining her in the second round is top seed and 2004 champion Williams. The American claimed victory over Russia’s Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-2.
Another former champion, Agnieszka Radwanska, overcome early tournament nerves to cruise through to the next stage.