Petra Kvitova, also seeded second, suffered a shock defeat in her first-round match at the Tianjin Open.
After the surprising run in Stuttgart, in her very first tournament after the suspension, Sharapova came back into the best four as she comfortably beat Stefanie Voegele 6-3 6-1 winning seven games in a row from 3-3 in the first.
Venus Williams was knocked out in the second round of the Hong Kong Open by 19-year-old Naomi Osaka.
Sharapova has not added to her huge haul of titles since returning from a doping ban, but remains in the hunt for a 36th WTA Tour singles success after claiming the only break of the first set and two in the second to prevail.
Child marriage - laws should be more stringent
The anomalies in the existing laws pertaining to the criminality of rape have often led to exploitation of minor girls in India. Education is the need of the hour and government should educate the masses on the right age for marrying their children.
The former No.1 dictated the pace of the rallies from the centre and offered Voegele flat and deep returns that the Swiss struggled to counter. Sharapova, a five-time major-winner, is now ranked a lowly 86 in the world and she needed a wildcard to enter the Tianjin tournament.
Sharapova advanced to the second round to face Poland's Magda Linette, who overcame dropping the first set to record a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 win over Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko.
The Swiss won a final game - her fourth - before falling in 64 minutes with eight double-faults.
Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus is also through to the quarters, beating Zhu Lin of China 6-3 6-4.
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