Defending champion Li Na of China.

Paris – Chinese defending champion Li Na overpowered Romania's Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-1 on Monday to advance to the second round at the French Open.

The 30-year-old, world number seven, took just 58 minutes to dispose of the 22-year-old Cirstea, ranked 43, with a display of superior cross-court ball striking.

Li is bidding to become the first woman since Justin Henin in 2007 to defend the women's singles title at Roland Garros.

She won the title last year from Italy's Francesca Schiavone, giving Asia its first ever singles title in any Grand Slam.

Li will face either Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic or France's Stephanie Foretz Gacon for a place in the last 32. – Sapa-AFP