MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Justine Henin opened her title defense at the Sony Ericsson Championships with a 6-1, 7-6 (4) victory over Anna Chakvetadze on Tuesday.
The top-ranked Henin cruised through the first set then rallied to take the tiebreaker over the seventh-ranked Russian -- making her first appearance at the WTA Tour's season-ending championships -- in the first match of round-robin play in the yellow group.
Later Tuesday, second-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova played No. 3 Ana Ivanovic. Also in red group play, Daniela Hantuchova faced 2004 champion Maria Sharapova.
Henin, who trailed 2-0 to start the second set, hit a backhander to the corner to take a 4-3 lead in the tiebreaker before serving out for the win.
Chakvetadze, who withdrew from Quebec City last week with a right shoulder injury, looked rusty with 30 unforced errors and Henin broke twice to take the first set.
Chakvetadze improved in the second and Henin double-faulted to give the Russian an early break in a back-and-forth set.
Both players had trouble with the other's strong ground strokes and Henin, the French and U.S. Open champion, rallied with consecutive breaks to tie it at 3-3.
After trading breaks again to reach the tiebreaker, Chakvetadze hit into the net on the first match point as Henin improved to 3-0 against her.