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Strycova opens Rogers Cup with upset win

(Reuters) - Veteran Czech Barbora Strycova swept past 13th seeded Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 6-2 6-3 on Monday to open the Rogers Cup with an upset.

The first match on an overcast centre court lasted just 75 minutes, as Strycova advanced to the second round for the fourth straight year to leave Mladenovic winless in four tries on the Canadian hardcourts.

"I started very well and felt good on court," said the 26th ranked Strycova, whose only career title came in 2011 in Quebec City. "I was playing a lot of balls and being patient and I think that was the key in this match.

"In the second set she started to play a little bit better, she is a tough opponent. It is a great win for me."

Playing her first event since a first-round loss at Wimbledon, Strycova got the match off to blazing start breaking a misfiring Mladenovic three times on her way to a 5-0 lead.

After a visit from her mother at the changeover, Mladenovic, who has reached the finals in four events this season, including a win in St. Petersburg, buckled down and halted the slide with a break of her own and a hold of serve.

With a second opportunity to close out the set, the Czech did not squander her chance, grabbing a 1-0 lead.

The 31-year-old Strycova broke Mladenovic twice more to power ahead 4-0 in the second set, before Mladenovic again offered some resistance and swept three straight games.

But the rally fizzled as Strycova held and closed out the contest with a sixth break.

In other first-round action, Japan's Naomi Osaka advanced 6-1 4-1 when Britain's Heather Watson retired with an injury. The 20-year-old Russian Daria Kasatkina battled past Italy's Roberta Vinci 7-6 (3) 7-6 (1).

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Larry King)

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