Seeds scattered at Sydney International

By Julian Linden

SYDNEY (Reuters) - U.S. Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki and former world number one Jelena Jankovic joined a growing list of early casualties at the Sydney International on Monday.

Frenchman Gael Monfils and Russia's Vera Zvonereva also bowed out of the joint ATP-WTA event, succumbing to injury just a week before the Australian Open starts in Melbourne.

Monfils pulled out before hitting a ball at the Olympic tennis center because of a shoulder injury he sustained in Brisbane last week.

"I think I have an inflammation... it's getting worse and worse," the Frenchman said.

"If I keep going playing on it, it's gonna turn into something chronic I think, so I need to take some days off."

Zvonereva, who made her first grand slam semi-final in Australia last year, hobbled out of her first round match with countrywoman Elena Vesnina with a recurring ankle problem.

Zvonereva underwent surgery in November last year but hurt herself again playing in an exhibition in Hong Kong last week.

She thought she had recovered enough to play in Sydney but retired with the scores locked at 3-3 in the first set.

"I had to hit a backhand and just injured my ankle again," she said. "I tried my best to continue playing but it's just too painful to finish the match. I had to stop."

POOR PREPARATION

A jet-lagged Wozniacki was knocked out by China's Li Na 2-6 6-3 6-2.

"I don't know. I just didn't play my best game today," the Dane said. "I arrived yesterday from Hong Kong and maybe it's not the best preparation I could have."

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who also played in Hong Kong, was the only seeded woman to survive, coming from behind to beat Germany's Sabine Lisicki 3-6 6-1 7-5.

Jankovic, who has slipped to eighth in the world rankings after sitting at the top 12 months ago, lost her opening round match 5-7 6-1 7-5 to Hungary's Agnes Szavay.

"It was my first match of the season and I was a little bit nervous," she said.

"I really tried my best (but) I wasn't playing well. I was not hitting the ball as I wanted to and not serving well either.

"I just have to clean up some things in my game and do better next time."

Women's top seed Serena Williams of the U.S. plays her first match this year against Spain's Marie Jose Martinez Sanchez on Tuesday.

(Editing by John O'Brien)