Fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic withdrew Tuesday because of a left thigh strain she picked up in Serbia’s 3-2 win over Belgium in the Fed Cup last week.
“I was playing against (Kirsten) Flipkens and during one point in the second set, I felt a really sharp pain, but I managed to finish the match,” Jankovic said.
Li rallied from a 5-0 deficit to force a tiebreaker but she double-faulted at 3-2 to give Pironkova a mini-break. The unseeded Bulgarian won the first set on a forehand error from Li before taking a 3-1 lead in the second.
“I played last week in the Fed Cup in Israel, I played some good matches which helped for my form and for my confidence,” Pironkova said. “So I felt pretty good coming here, and I’m glad I could show it on the court today against such a world-class player.”
Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic, Petra Martic of Croatia and Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa also advanced to the second round along with three German players — Julia Goerges, Angelique Kerber and Mona Barthel.
Goerges cruised past Shahar Peer of Israel 6-1, 6-3. Kerber beat Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 7-6 (3).