Li is the No. 3 seed in the women's bracket and she brushed aside Claudia Rivero of Peru 21-5, 21-6 in group play.
A win over Carolina Marin of Spain in Li's other group match will send her into the round of 16 -- where each of the group winners will begin the knockout phase of the tournament.
China's Wang Yihan, the current women's world champion and No. 1 seed, will not be in action until Monday.
No seed higher than 11th competed in the men's bracket Saturday and No. 11 Taufik Hidayat of Indonensia rolled past Peter Koukal of the Czech Republic 21-8, 21-8.
The women's doubles world championship duo of Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang also had no trouble in disposing of Canadians Alex Bruce and Michele Li 21-11, 21-7.
NY rabbi using karate to attack the 'knockout game'
Man behind Doritos Locos Tacos passed away on Thanksgiving