World No 1 Iga Swiatek launched her bid for a rare Indian Wells repeat with a convincing 6-0, 6-1 victory over 56th-ranked American Claire Liu.
Neither Liu nor the breezy conditions on Stadium Court troubled Swiatek, who is seeking to become just the second woman to sucessfully defend her title at the prestigious Indian Wells hard court tournament after Martina Navratilova in 1990 and 1991.
Liu saved a match point as she finally held serve in the penultimate game, the crowd roaring when she slipped a forehand passing shot under Swiatek's guard on game point.
It brought a smile to Liu's face, but Swiatek closed it out in the next game after 65 minutes.
The 21-year-old from Warsaw, who successfully defended her title in Doha last month before falling in the final at Dubai, next faces either US wildcard Peyton Stearns or 2021 Indian Wells champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada.