Top seed Barbora Strycova edged past former junior prodigy Marie Bouzkova in three sets to reach the second round of the Ladies Open Biel Bienne.
WTA Staff

BIEL/BIENNE, Switzerland - Barbora Strycova showed all of her mettle to dispatch an inspired Marie Bouzkova, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 and reach the second round of the Ladies Open Biel Bienne.

Playing her first match since reaching the round of 16 at the Miami Open, Strycova faced a tough test in Bouzkova, the 2014 US Open junior champion - in the same cohort as Volvo Car Open finalists Daria Kasatkina and Jelena Ostapenko - who recovered from losing the opening set to twice lead Strycova by a double break in the second.

The top seed broke Bouzkova as she served for the first set, but couldn't close the gap as the 18-year-old leveled the match and broke serve to start the decider.

Strycova drew on all of her experience to take over from there, winning the final six games to seal victory in two hours and 17 minutes.

In all, the Czech veteran struck 25 winners, 15 more than her young compatriot, and kept a positive differential with only 20 unforced errors by comparison.

Up next for Strycova is Carina Witthoeft, who knocked out former World No.7 Belinda Bencic, 6-1, 6-3.

"I think my service games were key, because I held serve the whole match," Witthoeft said after the win. "That helped me focus on returns and put pressure from the first shot. This worked out pretty well."

Bencic first broke into the Top 10 just over a year ago, but a series of injuries have eroded her ranking and seen her win just one match in 2017.

"I have to be comfortable against every game, because every player is different," Witthoeft continued. "It's not easy to play Belinda because she puts so much pressure on you. I'm pretty happy."

Witthoeft and Strycova last played in 2012, where the German youngster won in straight sets; Strycova has soared to new heights since, and the 22-year-old aims to be ready to pull off another upset.

"I expect a good match. She's the No.1 seed, and has been Top 20. I played her once five years ago, but I have nothing to lose."