Rome Open: Barbora Strycova showcases prowess to win 1R; Mayar Sherif exits

Marketa Vondrousova put an end to Kaia Kanepi's Rome journey

by Abbey Johnson
Rome Open: Barbora Strycova showcases prowess to win 1R; Mayar Sherif exits

Barbora Strycova’s return to the Rome Open for the first time since 2020 came about on a successful note. The Czech won her first-round match against Maryna Zanevska, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 after an hour and 57 minutes of play.

This was Strycova’s first win on the singles court after almost three years. The last time Strycova won a singles match was at the 2020 French Open. That year, she reached the second round after winning in the opening round against Varvara Lepchenko.

Since then, Strycova was on a five-match losing streak that spanned two years, saw her have her son in 2021 and then start again on the tour, at the Mutua Madrid Open, two weeks ago. Speaking about her first-round defeat to Elisabetta Cocciaretto in the Spanish capital a fortnight ago, Strycova said that match helped her regain confidence.

She said, “To be honest, when I played the match against Cocciaretto, it was a great match. After three years of not playing, I was surprised how I was hitting the ball, how I was moving… So, it gave me confidence that I did something good during the three months of preparing myself”.

In the second round, Strycova, a former Rome quarter-finalist will take on ninth seed Maria Sakkari.

Rome Open: Anna Blinkova bests Mayar Sherif

Meanwhile, Madrid Open quarter-finalist Mayar Sherif’s fortunes underwent a drastic change.

The Egyptian crashed out in her opener against Anna Blinkova. The latter came from a set down to prevail 2-6, 6-2, 6-3. Blinkova will take on 30th seed Anhelina Kalinina next. Estonians Kaia Kanepi and Anett Kontaveit had contrasting fortunes in their respective first-round matches at the Rome Open.

Marketa Vondrousova ousted Kanepi 6-0, 4-6, 6-2 in an hour and 53 minutes. Meanwhile, Kontaveit made quick work of Alycia Parks in their opening-round clash, winning 6-1, 6-1 in 65 minutes. This is the 27-year-old’s only third win of this season, after the Australian Open and the Abu Dhabi Open.

A back injury stopped Kontaveit from playing for a couple of months thereafter, making the Mutua Madrid Open her comeback event.

Barbora Strycova Marketa Vondrousova Kaia Kanepi