Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Bellis, 17, reaches third round of U.S. Open

CiCi Bellis of Atherton defeated 49th-ranked Shelby Rogers,
a French Open quarterfinalist in June, tonight in the U.S. Open.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   NEW YORK -- Stanford women's coach Lele Forood shouldn't get too excited about CiCi Bellis' recent verbal commitment to enroll at the university in the fall of 2017.
   It appears more and more likely that the 17-year-old resident of nearby Atherton will turn pro before then.
   Bellis reached the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time tonight, upsetting Shelby Rogers 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in an all-American matchup at the U.S. Open.
   Bellis literally jumped for joy, while pumping her arms, after beating the 49th-ranked Rogers, a French Open quarterfinalist in June.
   "I can't believe it," Bellis, a qualifier, breathlessly told the crowd at the new, 8,125-seat Grandstand in an on-court interview. "I played Shelby a couple of months ago, and she was much better than me. I got the best of her tonight."
   Bellis was referring to Rogers' 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 victory on clay in the first round of a $75,000 tournament in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., in May. It was their only previous meeting.
   Bellis used her sensational groundstrokes to subdue Rogers -- who had upset 27th-seeded Sara Errani, a  French Open finalist and U.S. Open semifinalist in 2012 -- in the first round. The 5-foot-7 (1.68-meter), 110-pound (50-kilogram) Bellis' serve, however, hovered in the 90s.
   Rogers, a 23-year-old right-hander from Charleston, S.C., took a medical timeout to have her right bicep taped after she held serve at love for 1-4 in the second set.       
   Bellis recorded her fourth victory over a top-50 player. She knocked off No. 13 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open, No. 32 Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan in the second round in Miami last year and No. 38 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the opening round of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in July.
   Now it really gets tough for Bellis, She will meet No. 2 seed and reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber on Friday.
   Bellis has said she will turn pro if she cracks the top 100 in the world before she is scheduled to enroll at Stanford. Assuming she loses to Kerber, Bellis will jump from No. 158 to about No. 123.
   Third-round losers in singles at the U.S. Open receive $140,000, but Bellis can accept only expense money unless she changes her mind and suddenly turns pro.
Former Stanford stars Bob and Mike
Bryan, seeded third, celebrate their
first-round win with their trademark
chest bump. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Meanwhile, two high seeds, one men's and one women's, were upset today.
   Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia ousted third-seeded Garbine Muguruza, who won her first Grand Slam title in the French Open in June, 7-5, 6-4.
   Qualifier Ryan Harrison of Austin, Texas, eliminated fifth-seeded Milos Raonic, the runner-up to Andy Murray at Wimbledon last month, 6-7 (4), 7-5, 7-5, 6-1. Raonic, a three-time champion in the now-defunct SAP Open in San Jose, began cramping in his arms and legs in the middle of the second set in the muggy 84-degree heat.
   The new $150 million retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium was closed for the first time when rain began to fall during fourth seed and two-time champion Rafael Nadal's 6-0, 7-5, 6-1 victory over Andreas Seppi of Italy in the featured night match. 
   In doubles, three former Stanford stars won their openers.
   Third-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan, the 1998 NCAA doubles champions for the Cardinal and five-time U.S. Open men's doubles champs, dominated Martin Klizan of Slovakia and Adil Shamasdin of Canada 6-1, 6-3.
   Nicole Gibbs, a 2012 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford, and Nao Hibino of Japan topped Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia and Monica Puig of Puerto Rico 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. Puig won the Olympic gold medal in singles this month in Rio de Janeiro, and Hibino took the singles crown in the inaugural $50,000.Stockton Challenger last year.
   Wild cards Mackenzie McDonald, who grew up in Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Martin Redlicki of Boca Raton, Fla., fell to top seeds and defending champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut of France 7-6 (8), 6-1.
   In mixed doubles, fourth-seeded Raquel Atawo (formerly Kops-Jones) of San Jose and Jean-Julien of the Netherlands lost to Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands and Dominic Inglot of Great Britain 7-6 (4), 5-7 [10-4].

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