Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bellis clinches year-end No. 1, wins doubles title

CiCi Bellis, 15, meets the press after stunning Australian Open runner-up Dominika
Cibulkova in the first round of the U.S. Open in August. Photo courtesy of USTA
   Despite falling short of the Orange Bowl girls 18 singles title, CiCi Bellis had a great week.
   The 15-year-old sensation from Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area clinched the year-end No. 1 junior ranking on Friday and picked up the doubles title today at the prestigious clay-court tournament in Plantation, Fla.
   Bellis rose from No. 2 to No. 1 by reaching the quarterfinals after previously top-ranked Shilin Xu of China lost in the first round. The second-seeded Bellis then fell to 13th seed and eventual champion Sofia Kenin, 16, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., in the semifinals.
   In the doubles final, Bellis and Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic edged seventh-seeded Miriam Kolodziejova of the Czech Republic and Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia 7-5, 2-6 [10-4].
   Bellis and Vondrousova reached the French Open girls final in June, a prelude to Bellis' stunning victory over 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the U.S. Open in August. Cibulkova had marched to her first Grand Slam final in January, losing to now-retired Li Na in the Australian Open.
   Here's a link to my 2012 profile of Bellis:
   Another 16-year-old from Pembroke Pines in the Miami area won the boys 18 singles title. Second-seeded Stefan Kozlov topped unseeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 for his first Orange Bowl crown in four singles finals. He had lost in the boys 12, 14 and 18 title matches.
   Americans swept the boys and girls 18 singles crowns for the first time since Timothy Neilly and Jessica Kirkland in 2004 and won in six of the eight Orange Bowl finals. Kozlov also won the doubles crown with Michael Mmoh of Temple Hills, Md. They were seeded first.
   Showing remarkable skill and maturity in the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger in October, Kozlov advanced to the final before losing to U.S. Davis Cup veteran Sam Querrey.
   The Orange Bowl is the most prestigious non-Grand Slam junior tournament in the world.
   Past Orange Bowl champions on clay include Chris Evert (1969-70), Bjorn Borg (1972), John McEnroe (1976), Ivan Lendl (1977), Gabriela Sabatini (1984), Mary Joe Fernandez (1985), Jim Courier (1987) and Anna Kournikova (1995).
   Former winners on hard courts include Roger Federer (1998), Elena Dementieva (1998), Andy Roddick (1999), Vera Zvonareva (2000-01), Marcos Baghdatis (2003), Nicole Vaidisova (2003) and Caroline Wozniacki (2005). 
    The Junior Orange Bowl, for boys and girls 14s and 12s, is scheduled for Wednesday through Dec. 23 at various sites in the Miami area.
In Plantation, Fla.
   Boys 18 singles -- Stefan Kozlov (2), Pembroke Pines, Fla., def. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Greece, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
   Boys 18 doubles -- Stefan Kozlov, Pembroke Pines, Fla., and Michael Mmoh (1), Temple Hills, Md., def. Yunseong Chun and Seong Chan Hong (2), South Korea, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
   Boys 16 singles -- Sam Riffice (2), Roseville, def. Mattias Siimar (10), Estonia, 6-1, 1-6, 7-5.
   Boys 16 doubles -- Basil Khuma, India, and Christian Lakoseljac, Canada, def. Kristofer Siimar and Mattias Siimar (8), Estonia, 6-3, 6-4.
   Girls 18 singles -- Sofia Kenin (13), Pembroke Pines, Fla., def. Ingrid Neel, Rochester, Min., 6-3, 6-3.
   Girls 18 doubles -- CiCi Bellis, Atherton, and Marketa Vondrousova (1), Czech Republic, def. Miriam Kolodziejova, Czech Republic, and Tereza Mihalikova (7), Slovakia, 7-5, 2-6 [10-4].
   Girls 16 singles -- Bianca Andreescu (8), Canada, def. Dominique Schaefer (11), Peru, 7-5, 6-3.
   Girls 16 doubles -- Emma Decoste, Stuart, Fla., and Kariann Pierre-Louis, Miami, def. Sofia Munera Sanchez, Colombia, and Camila Vargas Gomez (1), Peru, 6-1, 7-5.

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