Monday, March 2, 2015

Bellis, 15, crushes Sanchez for Rancho Santa Fe title

   CiCi Bellis is 10 years younger than Maria Sanchez, four inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter.
   But in an all-Northern California final, Bellis demolished Sanchez 6-2, 6-0 today to win the rain-delayed $25,000 Fresh Start Women's Open in the San Diego suburb of Rancho Santa Fe.
   Bellis, a 15-year-old amateur from Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, is listed at 5-foot-6 (1.68 meters) and 110 pounds (50 kilograms). She won the last 11 games against Sanchez, who was born and raised in Modesto, in their first career meeting.
   It was Bellis' third singles title in a professional tournament (all $25,000 events) and first in her home state. The second-ranked junior in the world, she will rise from No. 244 among women to a career high of about No. 212.
   Bellis became an overnight sensation last August when she stunned 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, the runner-up in the 2014 Australian Open, in the first round of the U.S. Open. Bellis fell in the second round to Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas, ranked 48th then and 32nd now, in three sets.
   Sanchez graduated from USC, two hours up the freeway from San Diego, in 2011. She has slumped from a career-high No. 107 in 2013 to No. 220.
   Sanchez was seeking her third pro singles title, having won Albuquerque ($75,000) and Sacramento ($50,000) in 2012.

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