PERTH, Australia – Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic combined for a 2-0 Serbian sweep to start their 2013 Hopman Cup campaign with a pair of straight-set wins over Italian opposition.
Ivanovic, who has been in Perth since December 20 with her parents and other family members, was ruthless in her demolition of Francesca Schiavone in a battle of former French Open winners, 6-0, 6-4.
Djokovic suffered a freak incident when a low stadium hoarding at the side of the court gave way as the Serb was signing post-match autographs, with a wooden board scraping his legs before he got out of the way with no apparent serious damage.
Djokovic took to the court little more than 12 hours since arriving in western Australia from Abu Dhabi where he won an exhibition.
The world number one said he got a few hours of sleep and then squeezed in a quick morning hit at the Perth arena before taking to the court for a win over Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4.
The Serb admitted that he was feeling the effects of his dash halfway around the world.
“It felt like sleep-walking,” joked Djokovic, who is hoping along with Ivanovic to nudge their nation over the line after Serbia lost the Hopman final in 2008 against the US.
“But as the match went on, I got my rhythm. I broke the ice after the first set and I felt a bit better. It cost me twice the effort.
“I also had a tough opponent, it was good to win in straight sets.”
Djokovic won the first set with a break but found himself in strife as he had to save four break points in the eight game of the second to escape to 5-3.
Seppi salvaged a pair of Djokovic match points in the next game before the Serb ended the afternoon after 84 minutes on his fourth winning opportunity a game later.
Ivanovic broke five times and fired 21 winners against Schiavone to earn her point. “The first game was a bit crucial, I managed to hold out after seeing a few break points and then I really got into the match.
“I didn't do much wrong in that first set, in the second set she got tougher, she started playing better. I'm really happy I managed to win today, it really means a lot.”