Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bellis ousts No. 2 seed, defending champ in Midland

CiCi Bellis, a 16-year-old amateur, defeated a top-100 player
for the third time in her career. 2015 photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis achieved one of the biggest wins of her young career today.
   The 16-year-old amateur from Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area upset No. 2 seed and defending champion Tatjana Maria of Germany 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the $100,000 Dow Corning Tennis Classic in Midland, Mich.
   Maria, ranked No. 68, is the third top-100 player Bellis has beaten.
   At 15, Bellis knocked off No. 13 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in the opening round of the 2014 U.S. Open, becoming the youngest player to win a match at Flushing Meadows since Anna Kournikova at 15 in 1996.
   Bellis also defeated No. 32 Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan in the second round at Miami last March before losing to Serena Williams 6-1, 6-1.
   The 28-year-old Maria, who's married with a 2-year-old daughter, was coming off a second-round appearance in the Australian Open and reached the third round at Wimbledon last year.
   But Maria made repeated baseline errors against the 219th-ranked Bellis, who's listed at 5-foot-6 (1.68 meters) and only 110 pounds (50 kilograms), and lost her serve seven of 11 times.
   Not only is Maria one of the few women with a one-handed backhand, she switched from two hands in mid-career.
   Bellis, who ended 2014 as the No. 1 junior in the world, will face the winner of Wednesday's match between 22-year-old wild card Robin Anderson of Matawan, N.J., and another 16-year-old from the Bay Area, qualifier Michaela Gordon of Saratoga.
   Anderson, only 5-foot-3 (1.61 meters), was the runner-up to Adriana Perez of Venezuela in the $25,000 Redding Challenger in 2013 and won the doubles title with countrywoman Lauren Embree.
   Gordon advanced to the Wimbledon girls quarterfinals in 2014 and 2015 and, at 15 years and 1 month old, the quarters of the 2014 Redding Challenger.

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