TORONTO, Canada - Barbora Strycova put together a dominant performance to upset Kristina Mladenovic on Monday, battling her way into the second round of the Rogers Cup in straight sets.
No.13 seed Kristina Mladenovic was the first top player to fall at the Premier 5 event, with Strycova mercilessly notching the 6-2, 6-3 victory in just over an hour and 15 minutes.
The No.26-ranked Czech didn’t have to do much to build up a 5-0 lead in the first set. Mladenovic seemed to struggle with her rhythm from the very start, misfiring on routine shots and going for the early winners, which resulted in too many unforced errors piling up.
Finding herself down three breaks of serve, Mladenovic finally broke through the Strycova serve - aided by two double faults - just as the Czech was trying to serve out the set. But Strycova took the opening set at the second time of asking, calmly serving the next game to love.
With Mladenovic still out of sorts in the second, Strycova once again got out to a huge lead, breaking twice go up 4-0.
But once again, with the finish line in sight for the Czech, Mladenovic put together another comeback attempt. She broke back to cut Strycova’s lead to 4-3 and even held three break points that would level the score.
Strycova didn’t panic, though, raising her level and finding huge first serves to see her way out of trouble and tamp down Mladenovic’s resistance and see off the No.13 seed in straight sets.
The defeat extends Mladenovic’s Rogers Cup woes - the Frenchwoman yet to win a match in Montreal or Toronto, falling in the first round at every main draw appearance.
Strycova will go on to face the winner between Daria Gavrilova and Spanish qualifier Lara Arruabarrena in the next round.
Also through to the second round, No.11 seed Dominika Cibulkova dodged the tricky Lesia Tsurenko to move on in straight sets, 7-6(3), 6-4.
Daria Kasatkina also survived a roller coaster match against Roberta Vinci, coming back from 1-4 down in the second and denying the Italian two set points to win in straight sets, 7-6(3), 7-6(1).
“I had a tough opponent today because Roberta doesn’t play the typical women’s tennis style,” Kasatkina told WTA Insider afterwards.
“It was a difficult match but I’m happy that I came back in the second set and in the end I played really good.”
Also in action, Russian qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova defeated American qualifier Sachia Vickery 6-1, 7-6(3) while Naomi Osaka advanced after Heather Watson retired trailing 6-1, 4-1.