Tennis: Pavlyuchenkova upsets Swiss seed on Brisbane International opening day

BRISBANE (AFP) - Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova caused the only upset on the first day of the season-opening Brisbane International tennis tournament, when she swept aside fifth-seeded Swiss Timea Bacsinszky 6-2, 6-1 on Sunday.

The powerful Russian took just over an hour to defeat Bacsinszky and set up a clash against Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.

Cornet booked her place in the second round when she beat countrywoman Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-4.

Former Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova survived a scare from Belgian Yanina Wickmayer to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the tournament's first match at the Pat Rafter Arena.

The Slovak was down 4-3 in the third set before storming home to see off Wickmayer in two hours and 11 minutes.

"Today I was really, really strong, especially mentally," she said.

"For the first match it was tough because (in) these first tournaments of the season...you never know what to expect.

"The only thing I knew I could do better in the first set and second set was my serve," she added.

Former Brisbane finalist Andrea Petkovic of Germany was untroubled in her 6-1, 6-2 win over Brazilian Teliana Pereira.

She will take on either third seed Maria Sharapova or Ekaterina Makarova in the second round.

In the only other main draw match, Varvara Lepchenko of the United States beat Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 6-1 and will now face second-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain.

Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka begins her campaign on Monday when she plays Russian qualifier Elena Vesnina, while the men's draw gets under way when fifth-seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon clashes with Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov.