Above photo: Rebecca Marino. Photo by David Mahussier of 1812 Photography.
Marino To Play For Challenger Title
Rebecca Marino of Vancouver will look to become the first Canadian singles champion of the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger on Sunday. Marino will play Julia Glushko of Israel for the women’s singles title. In Saturday’s semifinals, Marino edged Mexico’s Victoria Rodriguez 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 and Glushko beat Australia’s Maddison Inglis 6-0, 6-2.
As a 19-year-old at the 2010 US Open, Marino nearly took the first set against Venus Williams in a 7-6, 6-3 loss. Marino reached a career high ranking of No. 38 in the world in 2011.
After a five year absence from professional tennis, Marnio won her first three tournaments of 2018, all $15,000 ITF Pro Circuit events in Turkey. In April, the 27-year-old reached the final of a $25,000 ITF tournament in Japan.
Glushko, 28, reached a career high ranking of No. 79 in the world in 2014. Seeded No. 2 at the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger, Glushko has dropped just 14 total games in four matches.
Kubler Reaches Men’s Final
Jason Kubler of Australia is making the most of his first ever tournament on Canadian soil. Kubler beat No. 2 seed Marcel Granollers of Spain 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 Saturday to advance to the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger men’s singles final.
Kubler, 25, is a former No. 1 ranked junior player in the world. He became just the second player (the first being Rafael Nadal) to go undefeated through the World Youth Cup (14 and under) and Junior Davis Cup (16 and under) competitions.
Kubler, though, has dealt with knee trouble for many years. He’s had five surgeries on his left knee and one on his right. He was out of tennis for 14 months after his last surgery about two and a half years ago, and the one before that kept him out for four months.
For about six years, Kubler only played events on clay courts since the surface is easier on the joints. While Canada has many premiere tournaments, most of them are played on hard courts.
Kubler is now back playing on hard courts and the courts at Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club have been to his liking, as he’s dropped just one set in four singles matches and was a semifinalist in men’s doubles partnering with fellow Australian Bradley Mousley.
“Luckily for me it’s all sort of clicking at the moment,” said Kubler.
From early June to the late September of 2017, Kubler spent time coaching tennis and didn’t play any competitions. Then he got on a roll playing Futures and Challengers in Australia. The Brisbane native was a finalist in two Futures events and won a Challenger in the fall of 2017.
Kubler won his first event of 2018, defeating Canadian Brayden Schnur in the Playford Challenger final. His string of successes earned Kubler a wildcard entry into the Australian Open, where he lost in the opening round to No. 10 seed Pablo Carreno Busta 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
“I could have finished my year after that said ‘that little period was the best professional period I had ever,’” Kubler said.
Kubler competed at Wimbledon just prior to coming to Winnipeg. He won three qualifying matches to get into the main draw of the grass court Grand Slam, including a victory over Canada’s Peter Polansky.
Kubler is aiming to get his ranking high enough to gain direct entry into the Grand Slams. He reached a career high ranking of No. 136 in the world in 2014 and is currently at No. 147.
“I don’t think the US Open is in reach (to gain direct entry),” said Kubler. “If I can get my ranking to a spot where I get into the main (draw) of Aussie Open or even further down the track try to get into the main of the French or Wimbledon that would be cool. But you can’t really control where your ranking goes. You just sort of try your best and do the right things.”
Kubler’s opponent in the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger final will be Lucas Miedler of Austria. Miedler, who beat the No. 1 seed Polansky earlier in the tournament, defeated 2016 champion Go Soeda of Japan 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in Saturday’s semifinals.
The team of Akiko Omae (Japan)/Victoria Rodriguez (Mexico) defeated Julia Glushko (Israel)/Sanaz Marand (U.S.) 7-6, 6-3 in the women’s doubles final.
The team of Marc-Andrea Huesler (Switzerland)/Sem Verbeek (Netherlands) won the men’s doubles title with a 6-7, 6-3, 14-12 win over Gerard Ganollers/Marcel Granollers (Spain).
Sunday Challenger Schedule
The women’s final between Rebecca Marino and Julia Glushko will be played at 11 am, with the men’s singles final between Jason Kubler and Lucas Miedler to follow (not before 1 pm).
View tournament draws and Order of Play:
Tournament Photo Galleries
View Day 8 tournament photos by David Mahussier of 1812 Photography: