Naomi Osaka , a four-time champion of the San Jose tournament, started her new participation on the right foot, in her first match since May, beating Zheng Qinwen 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 on Tuesday.
The Japanese hit 11 aces and saved seven of eight break points in this hard-court tournament that serves as preparation for the US Open.
Osaka had not played since May 23, when she fell to Amanda Anisimova in the first round of the French Open.
Once at the top of the rankings, Osaka has dealt with left Achilles tendon ailments since that match. In June she, in announcing that she would not participate in Wimbledon , said that the injury persisted.
Osaka won the US Open in 2018 and 20.
In the next round, she will face Coco Gauff, who beat Anhelina Kalinina 6-0, 6-1. Osaka has a 2-1 lead on her record against Gauff, whom she defeated at the 2019 US Open.
Gauff was a finalist at this year’s French Open.
Another former champion at Flushing Meadows, Bianca Andreescu, fell in San Jose on Tuesday. The Canadian, who was crowned at the 2019 US Open, was eliminated by Shelby Rogers, 6-4, 6-2.
In more first round activity, Elizabeth Mandlik won by making her WTA debut . She beat Alison Riske-Aritraj 6-3, 6-3.
Veronika Kudermetova (seeded 9) defeated Camila Giorgi 7-6(2), 4-6, 7-5.