Tuesday, August 26, 2014

U.S. Open Day 2 highlights: Bellis, 15, stuns 12th seed

CiCi Bellis earned a wild card in the U.S. Open by winning
the USTA Girls 18 National Championships in San Diego
three weeks ago. Photo courtesy of JFS Communications
   Match and upset of the day -- Catherine (CiCi) Bellis, a 15-year-old wild card from Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, shocked 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in the first round.
   Bellis, the second-ranked junior in the world, overcame a 3-1 deficit in the third set to become the youngest player to win a main-draw match in the U.S. Open since Anna Kournikova, also 15, in 1996.
   Cibulkova, only 5-foot-3 (1.61 meters), was the runner-up to Li Na in the Australian Open in January and won last year's Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. Atherton is adjacent to Stanford, and Bellis grew up attending the tournament.
   Cibulkova, however, has won one match in four tournaments since Wimbledon, including a first-round loss to Garbine Muguruza at Stanford. Cibulkova's victory was over 17-year-old wild card Francoise Abanda in Montreal three weeks ago.
   Bellis will face Zarina Diyas, a 20-year-old Kazakh who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon this year. She is ranked 48th.
   Here's a link to my 2012 profile of Bellis: http://norcaltennisczar.blogspot.com/2012/06/little-bellis-gets-big-results.html
   Notable -- Marina Erakovic, a veteran from New Zealand, upset 20th-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3). Kuznetsova, 29, won the U.S. Open 10 years ago for her first Grand Slam title. She also captured the French Open in 2009.
   Borna Coric, a 17-year-old qualifier from Croatia, ousted 29th-seeded Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. Rosol, 29, won his second career ATP title last week in Winston-Salem and stunned Rafael Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon in 2012.
   U.S. report -- The women went 9-4 in singles and the men 3-5. Those figures include two all-American encounters. With the women's first round complete, 12 U.S. players remain. With some of the men's opening round still to be played, only five Americans are left.
   Northern California connection -- Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native and former Sacramento Capital in World TeamTennis, subdued Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey could meet top-seeded Novak Djokovic in the third round.
   Dmitry Tursunov, a Russian veteran based in the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, lost to Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. Tursunov, 31, had been sidelined since Wimbledon with a left ankle injury.
   Former Stanford star Nicole Gibbs, 21, outlasted 41st-ranked Caroline Garcia of France 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 for her first Grand Slam main-draw victory. 
   Fast fact -- Roger Federer and Serena Williams each have captured 17 Grand Slam singles titles, including five in the U.S. Open. They headlined the night session and won in straight sets.
   Quote -- Bellis on her victory: “Believing was the number one thing that I had to do today. Just go out there and believe that you can win. If you do believe, there's two options. You can either believe and lose or believe and win, but if you don't believe you're going to lose anyway.”

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