O Canada!…could there be two Canadian winners in Memphis? Rebecca Marino & Milos Raonic!

Canada’s Rebecca Marino reached her first career WTA semifinal on Thursday, beating Coco Vandeweghe at the $220,000 Cellular South Cup in Memphis. Marino, at No.6 the only seed to survive through to the quarters, stormed out to a 61 53 lead but had to work overtime to close Vandeweghe out, 61 76(6). Marino saved two set points, one at 5-6, 30-40 and one at 5-6 in the tie-break. “I had a good start, but things got a bit difficult in the second set,” Marino said. “I’m excited to be in my first semifinal – hopefully it’s one of many to come.” Marino fired 14 aces, the most of any player in a WTA match this year. The Vancouver native is the highest-ranked player left in the field; although she’s far from home right now, there’s one thing that might remind her. “Every time I hear about the Grizzlies, I think of Vancouver. It’s funny they’re in Memphis now,” she said of her hometown’s former pro basketball team.

Next up for the 20-year-old Marino is 22-year-old Evgeniya Rodina, who beat qualifier Heather Watson, 63 64. Rodina is playing in her second career WTA semifinal, having done it at Tashkent last year (losing to Alla Kudryavtseva). Marino and Rodina will be playing against each other for the first time.

In the other semi will be two players with more experience at this stage of a WTA event, Lucie Hradecka and Magdalena Rybarikova. Rybarikova has one WTA title to her credit, Birmingham in 2009; Hradecka has been to three WTA finals, Bad Gastein in 2008 and Strasbourg and Istanbul in 2009. In the quarterfinals, Hradecka beat Ksenia Pervak, 64 63, while Rybarikova beat American qualifier Alexa Glatch on Stadium court, 63 62. Rybarikova leads Hradecka in their head-to-head series, 2-1.


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