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Barbora Strycova wins 1st singles match since maternity leave

Mutua Madrid Open - Day Six

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 29: Barbora Stryocva of the Czech Republic in action with partner Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipeh against Hao-Ching Chan of Chinese Taipeh and Latisha Chan of Chinese Taipeh in the first round of doubles on Day Six of the Mutua Madrid Open at La Caja Magica on April 29, 2023 in Madrid, Spain (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

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ROME -- Barbora Strycova won her first singles match since returning from maternity leave, beating Maryna Zanevska 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the opening round of the Italian Open.

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, Anna Blinkova rallied past Mayar Sherif 2-6, 6-2, 6-3. Sherif was coming off a breakthrough run to the quarterfinals in Madrid.

Nuria Parrizas Dias defeated Jule Niemeier 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The men’s tournament is headlined by Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz.

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.