Sydney: Ana Ivanovic`s preparations for next week`s Australian Open hit another obstacle when the former No. 1 and 2008 French Open champion was beaten 7-6 (5), 6-2 by Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in the first round of the Sydney International on Sunday.
Ivanovic was defeated in the second round of last week`s Brisbane International by Kim Clijsters, meaning the Serbian player will have had just three tournament matches going into the year`s first Grand Slam at Melbourne Park beginning January 16.
At 5-5 in the tiebreaker, Ivanovic missed an easy smash at the net which would have established a set point.
"I kept replaying that shot in my mind throughout the whole match," she said. "I felt like that was the turning point."
Ivanovic said she would travel straight to Melbourne to continue her preparations for the Australian Open.
"It gives me plenty of time to work on a few things and tune up a few things, but I feel my game is there," she said. "It`s still going to be good to have a few days to work. I had a good off-season and I just want to try and keep at it."
In another first-round match, former Australian Open quarterfinalist and top 10 player Jelena Dokic beat fellow Australian Isabella Holland 6-0, 6-0.
Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki and Wimbledon champion and No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova have first-round byes in the joint ATP-WTA Sydney tournament.
Top-seeded Juan Martin del Potro and the three other top men`s seeds also have first-round byes.