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Barbora Strycova’s Italian Open win first since maternity leave

Barbora Strycova earned her first singles victory since returning from maternity leave, defeating Maryna Zanevska 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the opening round of the Italian Open on Tuesday.

The 37-year-old Strycova returned to the tour two weeks ago at the Madrid Open after more than two years away following the birth of her son, Vincent. After beating Zanevska, Strycova was handed her 1-year-old son, who she told to “wave to daddy” in front of a TV camera.

In Madrid, Strycova lost her opener in singles and reached the quarterfinals in doubles with partner Hsieh Su-wei.

Strycova, who will next face ninth-seeded Maria Sakkari, is planning to retire after this year’s U.S. Open.

Also on the red clay of the Foro Italico, former French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova defeated Kaia Kanepi 6-0, 4-6, 6-2, and will next play former U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu.

Anna Blinkova rallied past Madrid quarterfinalist Mayar Sherif 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Also advancing were Sofia Kenin, Caty McNally, Anett Kontaveit, Wang Xiyu, Nuria Parrizas Diaz, Linda Noskova, Jasmine Paolini and Lisa Pigato.

The men’s tournament, headlined by Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz, started on Wednesday.

Like Madrid, Rome features expanded 96-player draws for both men and women this year.

Strycova and Hsieh are also entered in the doubles tournament, which they won in 2020.

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