Photo : Martin Sidorjak
Vancouver’s Rebecca Marino booked her place in the Australian Open main draw early Friday morning with a three-set comeback win over Kamilla Rakhimova in the final round of qualifying.
It will be Marino’s third main draw appearance at a major since coming out of retirement in 2017. She is 1-2 in Grand Slam play, having reached the second round in Melbourne last year, also as a qualifier.
The 31-year-old is the fourth Canadian in the singles main draw, joining Leylah Annie Fernandez on the women’s side. Félix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov are competing in the men’s draw.
Ranked 146th in the world coming into Australia, Marino needed to win three matches in qualifying to advance to the main draw. She was seeded 24th and won her first two matches over Ylena Akbon and Kateryna Bondarenko without dropping a set.
In the final round, she had her hands full with the eighth seed Rakhimova. Marino’s serve was broken in the opening game of the match, which ultimately led to her dropping the first set. She bounced back to take the second set and ultimately pushed the decider to a tiebreak.
Since 2019, the Australian Open has been using a tiebreak to 10 at 6-all to decide the final set. This benefitted Marino as she trailed the 4-6 in the tiebreak, which would have been double match point in a regular tiebreak, but instead allowed her tie to make a comeback. She did just that, winning six of the final seven points to win the breaker 10-7 and advance to the main draw.
Marino has a somewhat favourable draw, as she will meet world No. 80 Marie Bouzkova in her first-round match. However, she could meet 16th seed and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber next. Were she to pull the upset, there could be an all-Canadian clash with Fernandez in the third round.