With just five of the fifteen starters eliminated, the road to crowning the last-ever women's indoor 200 metre champion began on a relatively low key note.
Anastasiya Kapachinskaya, the 2003 bronze medallist indoors and silver medallist outdoors, won the first heat comfortably in 23.10, with Ukraine's Nataliya Pygda second in 23.39.
Svetlana Goncharenko made it two-for-two for the Russians, winning heat two with a seasonal best 23.08, well ahead of American champion Crystal Cox (23.23).
Austrian Karin Mayr-Krifka won heat three in 23.38, with Jamaica's Juliet Campbell (23.51) holding off American Rachelle Boone (23.59) for second.
With a commanding homestretch run, Natalya Safronnikova of Belorus won the fourth heat with a seasonal best 23.03, the fastest time of the morning. Maryna Maydanova, last year's European Under-23 champion of Ukraine, was second with 23.34 with Slovenian record holder Alenka Bikar third in 23.36.
Elswhere, Gretta Taslakian set a Lebanese national record of 25.80 in heat one. The top two plus the next two fastest advance to tonight's semi-final.