Russian former world number two Anastasia Myskina is likely to miss the Australian Open after a toe injury flared again in her first round loss to Argentina's Gisela Dulko in the first round of the Auckland Classic on Monday.
The former French Open champion needed treatment during the second set for her toe in her first match since October before Dulko won 6-1, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2.
"I still feel pain there and it bothers me," Myskina said after the match.
"Maybe I'm going to take a longer break."
The world's 16th ranked player later told tournament officials she was planning to head back to Moscow, rather than to Sydney for next week's Medibank International ahead of the Australian Open, starting January 15.
The 25-year-old Muscovite struggled with her serve and made too many unforced errors as she fell to an opponent ranked 43 places below her.
Dulko, 21, made the most of her chances and finished the final set with relative ease in her first ever victory over the Russian.
"This is the best way to start a year," Dulko said.
Number eight seed, American Shenay Perry, went down 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 to Frenchwoman Camille Pin in the other surprise of the opening day of the 145,000 US dollar tournament.
Defending champion Marion Bartoli, the fourth seed, made it safely through to the second round after overcoming a gutsy challenge from 16-year-old Japanese Ayumi Morita with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 victory.
Morita went to a 3-0 lead in the second set, but her chances disappeared with a series of double faults in her remaining three service games.