Williams and Kerber battle through in Hong Kong

AFP

Venus Williams put her injury problems to one side as she rallied to come from a set down to beat Yuliya Beygelzimer at the Hong Kong Tennis Open.

The 35-year-old has been troubled by a left thigh problem since winning the Wuhan Open and was beaten in the China Open first round last week.

Another early exit looked on the cards as Beygelzimer broke twice in the opening set, but Williams - who had her thigh bandaged throughout - turned the match on its head to secure a 2-6 6-4 6-4 win.

Williams will play Wang Yafan in the second round after Christina McHale retired through injury with Wang leading 6-3 4-1.

Like Williams, sixth seed Daria Gavrilova needed to fight back from an early setback to seal progression, the Russian beating Miyu Kato 6-7 (6-8) 7-5 6-3.

Second seed Angelique Kerber also had to come from a set down to beat Francesca Schiavone, but the other seeds in action had no such problems as Caroline Garcia, Alize Cornet, Jelena Jankovic and Sam Stosur all recorded straight-set successes.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Heather Watson ousted Zhang Kai-lin 3-6 6-1 6-2 and Kurumi Nara beat Zhang Ling 6-0 6-3.