Doha: Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was ousted in the first round of the Qatar Open by Shahar Peer of Israel 6-2, 6-4 on Tuesday.
Kuznetsova, two days after losing the final in nearby Dubai to new No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, looked a shadow of herself and appeared to struggle with a foot problem for which she received court-side treatment in the second set.
The eighth-seeded Peer broke the Russian six times, sending Kuznetsova out of the Doha first round for the first time. She was runner-up in 2004 and 2007.
Victoria Azarenka's poor start to the year was extended when she lost to Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Azarenka, ranked 9th, has only one quarterfinal appearance in four tournaments this year. She made a good start in the first set but collapsed over the next two. Azarenka led 2-0 in the third and lost the last six games. Hantuchova finished her off with her ninth ace.
"I stayed calm and played really aggressive in the second and third," said Hantuchova, who won in Pattaya this month.
The other seed in action, No. 5 Jelena Jankovic, handled Oman wild card Fatma Al Nabhani 6-1, 6-3.
Kaia Kanepi of Estonia withdrew because of a fever, leaving Chinese qualifier Peng Shuai to beat Swiss lucky loser Timea Bacsinszky 6-3, 6-2. Other winners included Flavia Pennetta of Italy, Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, qualifier Vera Dushevina of Russia, and another lucky loser, Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic.