Strycova gets first singles win since maternity leave

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

The 37-year-old Czech 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 one-year-old son Vincent, who she told to "wave to daddy" in front of a TV camera.

"I can't believe it," Strycova said. "I don't know how it feels because I didn't really process it.

"I went off the court and right away grabbed my son because he was hungry. So I wasn't really realising I won the match.

"I'm very happy. Also, I feel a little strange because he's here and I will be changing a diaper in a little while instead of getting a glass of wine."

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

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

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

The 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin was made to work hard by Cristina Bucsa, but prevailed 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 7-5 to set up a second round meeting with world No.2 Aryna Sabalenka.

Former US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez was beaten 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-3 by Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

With Ajla Tomljanovic still recuperating from knee surgery she underwent in January no Australians rank high enough to gain automatic entry to the 96-player field. The nation's last player left in qualifying, Priscilla Hon, lost 6-4 6-4 to Ysalone Bonaventure on Tuesday.

- with Reuters