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Canada's Marino, Sebov advance in Australian Open qualifying

Rebecca Marino Washington Open Rebecca Marino - The Canadian Press

MELBOURNE, Australia — Canadians Rebecca Marino and Katherine Sebov will meet in the Australian Open qualifying tournament after both advancing to the final round.

Marino came back from one set down to defeat Jessika Ponchet of France 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2 in women's second-round qualifying action at the first tennis Grand Slam of the year.

The 33-year-old from Vancouver hit eight aces and won six of 12 break-point opportunities to earn the win.

Toronto's Sebov lost a tiebreaker to Belgium's Ysaline Bonaventure in the first set before taking the second 6-4. She was leading the third set 4-0 when Bonaventure retired.

Marino and Sebov are tied at one win apiece in head-to-head matches.

Marino has played in the Australian Open main draw six times — including the last three years — but has never advanced past the round of 64.

Sebov's only main draw appearance at a Grand Slam was at last year's Australian Open. She lost in straight sets to then-world No. 4 Caroline Garcia of France in the opening round.

On the men's side, 29th seed Gabriel Diallo of Montreal beat France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8) to advance to the final round of the men's qualifying bracket.

Earlier, Carol Zhao of Richmond Hill, Ont., was eliminated in the second round after a 6-3, 6-1 loss to American Katie Volynets.

Volynets, ranked third in women's qualifying, broke Zhao seven times in nine chances while saving eight of the 11 break points she faced.

The American made more of her serve, winning 60 per cent of first-serve points compared to 30 per cent for Zhao.

Zhao had opened qualifying with a 6-3, 7-6 (7) victory over Valeria Savinykh of Russia on Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2024.