Rodionova’s wedding-wildcard dream alive

Arina Rodionova still has a chance to achieve her perfect love match this weekend – with a little help from Australian Open wildcard play-off organisers and semi-final opponent, Storm Sanders.

Rodionova turned 26 on Tuesday, progressed to the semi-finals at the play-offs on Thursday, is getting married to Richmond AFL player Ty Vickery on Saturday and hopes to top off a hectic week by claiming a wildcard entry into the 2016 Australian Open with a win in Sunday’s final.

The only problem with that scenario is the semi-finals take place at Melbourne Park on Saturday too.

But with a little understanding from tournament organisers and the agreement of a sporting Sanders, the match has been moved forward to accommodate the 4pm wedding.

“Following consultation with both players, the semi-final of the Australian Open play-off between Arina Rodionova and Storm Sanders has been moved to 9am on Saturday,” tournament director Francis Soyer said via a statement.

“The second semi-final will take place not before 10am.”

With temperatures in Melbourne forecast to reach 41 degrees on Saturday afternoon, the move also makes a lot of sense from a player welfare standpoint.

Rodionova booked her semi-final berth with a 6-2 6-4 win over fellow Victorian Destanee Aiava, while sixth seed Sanders had to fight tooth and nail in hot conditions to progress past Abbie Myers 4-6 6-2 8-6.

“It was a tough battle … she’s an aggressive player and has a lot of weapons,” a relieved Sanders said.

“I knew it was going to be tough out there and whoever got the first strike in was going to win most of the points. It was whoever could sustain that quality longest.”

Kaylah McPhee, who knocked out top seed Olivia Rogowska in the first round, exited the tournament at the hands of Western Australian Maddison Inglis 6-3 7-5.

Inglis will face Queenslander Naiktha Bains, who defeated Belinda Woolcock 6-4 7-6 (7-5), in the other semi.

The male and female winner of the tournament will receive entry into the main draw of the Australian Open starting on January 18.

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