Jelena Jankovic claimed her 26th win at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden after edging wild card Irina Falconi 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in a first-round battle on Thursday.
With the victory, the former World No. 1 is third in the list of active players with the most wins at the BNP Paribas Open; only Agnieszka Radwanska (28-10) and Caroline Wozniacki (27-9) have won more.
Jankovic, who lifted the title in 2010 (d. Wozniacki) and finished runner-up to Simona Halep two years ago, next plays seven-time major champion Venus Williams. Jankovic leads the No. 12 seed 7-6 in their head-to-head.
Andrea Petkovic earned a meeting with fellow German and No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber after Vania King retired with a left ankle injury while trailing 6-0, 2-0.
Later in the day, Americans pulled double-duty, as qualifier Varvara Lepchenko claimed victory over Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 and Lauren Davis posting a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 result after almost three hours of play.
In the last day match scheduled on Stadium 1, wildcard Donna Vekic fought off a late charge by Alison Riske to win 6-3, 7-6(2) in their first-round battle. The Croatian next plays No. 4 seed and 2015 champ Simona Halep.
Elsewhere in the women’s draw on Thursday night, a healthy Shuai Peng of China overcame Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko in three sets 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, while Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard couldn’t hold off Germany’s Annika Beck, falling 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Thursday's other winners include Lucie Safarova, Julia Goerges, Pauline Parmentier, Naomi Osaka, qualifiers Mariana Duque-Mariño, Sara Sorribes Tormo, and Magda Linette; and Shelby Rogers, who beat fellow American Jennifer Brady.