Caroline Garcia had to battle hard to halt a four-match losing streak while fellow seeds Sofia Kenin and Petra Martic also progressed at the Zhengzhou Open.
Garcia had not recorded a victory on the WTA Tour since beating Kristyna Pliskova in Jurmala in July. She lost to Chloe Paquet in the last 16 at that tournament before suffering opening defeats in Toronto and Cincinnati.
Having lost in straight sets to Ons Jabeur at the US Open, the French eighth seed was forced to work hard against Tereza Martincova in China.
Garcia eventually prevailed on her third match point, securing a 6-4 4-6 7-5 result after two hours and 35 minutes on court.
Kenin began her campaign with a 6-2 7-5 win over Paquet. The American, seeded six for a tournament serving as a Premier event on the Asian swing for the first time, came back from a break down in the second set to triumph.
As for Martic, she overcame Italian Jasmine Paolini 7-5 6-1 in a match that lasted 74 minutes.
The other first-round match to take place on Monday saw Yulia Putintseva prevail 6-1 5-7 6-1 against Tamara Zidansek in a repeat of this year's Nuremberg Cup final, which the former also won in three sets.