Shahar slinks out early in return to WTA hardcourt

Shahar Pe’er’s first match of new season didn’t bode well for 2013, with the Israeli being thrashed 6-1, 6-3.

Shahar Peer 390 (photo credit: Reuters)
Shahar Peer 390
(photo credit: Reuters)
Shahar Pe’er’s first match of the new season didn’t bode well for the upcoming year, with the Israeli being thrashed 6-1, 6-3 in just 64 minutes by world No. 131 Elina Svitolina in the first round of the Shenzhen Open in China on Monday.
Pe’er (74) was playing her first WTA Tour match since the end of August after electing to sit out the final two months of last season due to a left leg injury. She was accurate on just 45 percent of her first serves, being broken six times by the 18-year-old Ukrainian, who earned her first career WTA main draw win.
Pe’er will hope to kick-start her season in Hobart next week ahead of the Australian Open, which gets underway on January 14.
Elsewhere, defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic suffered a bizarre injury scare after a faultless straight-sets victory over Italian Andreas Seppi at the Hopman Cup on Monday.
The world No.1 was signing autographs after the match when he hurt his leg as local fans pushed towards him.
Leaving his racquets and bag on the court, Djokovic limped straight up the tunnel to receive a medical assessment in the locker room.
The Serbian was unable to complete a television interview he had agreed to after his 6-3, 6-4 victory over Seppi.
His on-court performance had been less stressful as he defeated a plucky opponent who pushed him to the limit in a five-set thriller at the French Open this year.
Djokovic only arrived in Perth from Abu Dhabi late on Sunday night and admitted he was troubled by jet lag.
“I felt this morning that I was dreamwalking,” he said. “I broke the ice after the first set and started to feel better.”
Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic held an unassailable 2-0 lead in the tie against the Italian pairing of Seppi and Francesca Schiavone.
Ivanovic began the day by beating Schiavone 6-0, 6-4.
Djokovic is taking part in the roundrobin team event to be guaranteed at least three matches in his build-up to the Australian Open.
Reuters contributed to this report.