Suarez, ranked 55th in the world, bounced back from losing the first set to take control of the match against Safina. One of 10 Russians entered in the event, Safina was ranked 15th.
Most of the top seeded players begin play on Tuesday in the tournament which features six of the world's top 10 players, including No. 2 Kim Clijsters of Belgium.
No. 12-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy defeated Lisa Raymond of the United States 7-5, 6-3 in the featured night match.
The 14th-seeded Ana Ivanovic from Serbia cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 win over Japan's Akiko Morigami and Austria's Sybille Bammer beat Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-7 (6) 6-1 in other night matches.
Spanish qualifier Virginia Ruano Pascual, who's won eight Grand Slam doubles titles with Suarez, surprised Elena Likhovtseva 6-4, 6-3. Ruano Pascual, one of eight qualifiers, beat her Russian counterpart with a steady performance. Ruano Pascual, 32, broke Likhovtseva four times.
Jelena Jankovic of Serbia pulled off a mild upset with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over 16th-seeded Maria Kirilenko of Russia. Jankovic dominated in the first set before rebounding from a 4-1 second-set deficit.
Qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine defeated 14-year-old local wild card Coco Vandeweghe 6-4, 6-2.
Also, Finland's Emma Laine defeated American Vania King 6-4, 6-2; qualifier Meilen Tu was a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 winner over fellow American Laura Granville; Jamea Jackson of the United States beat Mariana Diaz-Oliva of the United States 4-6, 6-2, 6-4; and Russian qualifier Vasilisa Bardina defeated China's Yuan Meng 6-4, 6-2.