Czech Barbora Strycova won her first singles match since the fall of 2020 with a 6-1 3-6, 6-3 victory over Maryna Zanevska in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Tuesday in Rome.
Strycova announced her retirement in summer 2021 but decided to return to competition after more than two years off following the birth of her son, Vincent. Now 37, she made her comeback last week at the Mutua Madrid Open and lost in straight sets to Elisabetta Cocciaretto.
She said the what she learned in that match helped her in Rome.
“To be honest, when I played the match against Cocciaretto, it was a great match,” Strycova told WTA Insider. “After three years of not playing, I was surprised how I was hitting the ball, how I was moving.
“I was like ‘Oh my God, I can still play with these girls.’ So it gave me confidence that I did something good during the three months of preparing myself.”
On Tuesday, Strycova fell behind 2-0 in the third round, then broke her Belgian opponent’s serve three times — she converted eight of nine chances on the day — to rebound for the win.
“Obviously it feels great and I’m very happy and pleased because I was so stressed during the match. I felt like I could win and that I have this match and it was slipping away a little bit in the third set,” she said of her first win since the French Open of 2020, which was delayed to the fall due to the pandemic.
Next up for Strycova in the second round is No. 9 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece.
“You never know,” Strycova said. “Maybe she will be a little nervous playing against a 37-year-old woman.”
Also, Aliaksandra Sasnovich defeated Leylah Fernandez in three sets to advance.
Other winners Tuesday were Americans Sofia Kenin and Caty McNally, Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, Spaniard Nuria Parrizas Diaz, Italians Jasmine Paolini and Lisa Pigato, Czechs Marketa Vondrousova and Linda Noskova, Russian Anna Blinkova and Xiyu Wang of China.
–Field Level Media