Marino & Rybarikova Into Memphis Final

Canada's Rebecca Marino reached her first WTA final. Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova awaits.

Published February 18, 2011 12:00

Marino & Rybarikova Into Memphis Final
Rebecca Marino

MEMPHIS, TN, USA - Rebecca Marino scored another win for Canada in Memphis on Friday, making her first WTA final at the Cellular South Cup with a come-from-behind 67(1) 64 61 victory over Russia's Evgeniya Rodina.

Marino, the No.6 seed, held two set points leading 5-4 in the first set, but missed out on them both; Rodina rallied back to take that first set handily in a tie-break. But the 20-year-old Vancouver native didn't let that get her down as she broke in the very next game and held serve the rest of the way to capture the second set, then cruised through the third to seal the semifinal victory.

"I was annoyed at myself after losing the first set, but you can't dwell on it," Marino said. "I just gave myself a clean slate at the start of the second set."

Before this week, Marino had never been past the quarterfinals of a WTA event; now she is Canada's first WTA finalist since Aleksandra Wozniak in April 2009. Wozniak is the only other Canadian in the last 13 years to reach a WTA final, doing it three times (runner-up at Fès in 2007, champion at Stanford in 2008, runner-up at Ponte Vedra Beach in 2009). "I'm nothing but excited. It's a great opportunity," Marino said. "I hope we can give everyone a good game."

With Milos Raonic doing so well on the ATP World Tour, Canada has players making noise on both tours. They were asked about each other Friday.

"I'm really proud to be Canadian. I'm happy he and I are playing well," Marino said after her match. "Canada is getting excited about tennis again. Hopefully everyone starts paying more attention to tennis, not just hockey!"

"There's a lot of buzz around her and she deserves all of the success she has been getting," Raonic said earlier. "What Rebecca is doing is positive for her and for Canadian tennis. It's good to have success on both sides - now everyone has someone to look up to. It's good for the nation as a whole."

Earlier in the day, Magdalena Rybarikova moved into her second WTA final with a 62 46 64 win over Lucie Hradecka. Rybarikova is a one-time WTA champion, winning on the grass courts of Birmingham in 2009.

"It was a very tough match today. My opponent served very well," Rybarikova commented. "I had to mix it up with some slices and high balls. I played a great first set, then she played well in the second set. In the third set I was finally able to break later on and I'm just happy to be in another final."

Marino and Rybarikova will be playing each other for the first time.

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