Early 16 for Vancouver's Marino

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

Kerrisdale's Rebecca Marino turns 16 in December. But today she'll play in the round of 16 at Odlum Brown Vancouver Open.

The Magee secondary student beat fellow Canadian Tania Rice 6-3, 6-2 yesterday at Hollyburn Country Club in West Vancouver. A win today would put her in tomorrow's quarterfinals.

That could be a tall order for Marino, who is six-foot-two with a big serve and powerful forehand. She'll face No. 2 seed Ryoko Fuda of Japan in centre court's third match of the day, sometime after 2 p.m.

"It's a great experience," Marino said. "It's exciting to play with so many international players, it's a great place to start right at home."

Marino is the defending national under-16 indoor champion and trains in her grandmother's backyard court. Last summer she was the youngest winner of the Rogers Stanley Park Open. She successfully defended her title this year. She was among 10 women entered in the Vancouver Open, which wraps up Sunday.

North Vancouver's Philip Bester, the lone Canadian men's singles entry, lost 7-5, 6-2 in a Tuesday night opening round match to Phillip Simmonds.

The Vancouver Open, founded in 2002, boasts a $25,000 US ITF-sanctioned women's purse and $100,000 US ATP-sanctioned men's purse.

Australian tennis star Mark Philippoussis claimed a back injury and withdrew on Monday. Reporters Down Under are abuzz with news of his breakup from 19-year-old fiancee Alexis Barbara of Miami. The 29-year-old known as "Scud" was once linked to Paris Hilton.


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