BRISBANE  - Kim Clijsters said she was looking forward to some much needed match practice after powering past Romania's Simona Halep in the first round of the Brisbane International on Sunday.

Clijsters, who won the season-opening Brisbane tournament in 2010 in a classic final against Justine Henin, blasted through the first set then held off Halep in the second to win 6-1, 6-4. The 28-year-old Belgian will be trying to defend her Australian Open crown later this month but concedes to being a bit rusty after missing the last seven months of 2011 with injury problems.

"It's important for me to get back into that kind of match rhythm," Clijsters said after her win over Halep. "I think it's difficult to get into that rhythm of playing matches a couple of days in a row. I would like to have that opportunity here. Obviously if not, it doesn't happen but it would be nice to achieve that."

Clijsters declared herself delighted with how she played against Halep, the world No.47, who reached the Australian Open third round last year. "For a first match this was pretty good," she said. "In the second set there were a few little errors that I need to focus on in my next match, but overall I had a good feeling, I felt that I was playing aggressively, so I was pretty happy with that."

Earlier former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone was handed an easy passage into the second round when Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan withdrew with a headache with the score at 4-4 in the first set. Schiavone had struggled at the start of the match and dropped two early service games, but she was beginning to hit her stride when Pervak decided she could no longer continue.

The Italian said she would like to have had a longer hit out after not playing for several months, saying she had just started to find her form when Pervak pulled out. "The last game was the best I played the whole match," she said, adding that at the start of the match she felt out of sorts with both her serving and her forehand. "I really had to fight for every point," she said. "After two months without competition the most important thing is to stay in there and pay attention to everything." In other matches Benesova downed fellow Czech Lucie Safarova 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 while Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski saw off local wildcard Casey Dellacqua 6-4, 6-2. Meanwhile, Third seed Ukranian Alexandr Dolgopolov fought off a determined Alejandro Falla of Colombia to reach the second round of the Brisbane International on Sunday.

Dolgopolov took the first set in a tiebreak then overpowered the Colombian in the second to ease to a 7-6 (7/3), 6-2, win. The 21-year-old Ukranian enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2011, beginning by reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and finishing ranked 15th in the world.

Earlier wildcard James Duckworth repaid the promoter's faith in him when he upset Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 6-4 in his first ever match on the main ATP tour. Duckworth was only granted a wildcard when a late withdrawal saw previous recipient Matthew Ebden elevated to the main draw.

The world No. 275 took full advantage, coming back from 1-4 down in the first set to win five games in a row and breaking Mahut once in the 2nd for an impressive victory. "I had a pretty good preparation, I had a few tough weeks of training and got myself in the best possible shape I could," Duckworth, 19, said, adding he didn't expect to be playing on the centre court.