Monday, August 29, 2016

Bellis breezes, McDonald blows big lead in Open

CiCi Bellis, a 17-year-old qualifier from Atherton, outclassed
Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland 6-2, 6-3 in the first round of
the U.S. Open. Photo by Paul Bauman
   NEW YORK -- For a while today, it appeared two young San Francisco Bay Area products would reach the second round of the U.S. Open.
   Instead, only one advanced.
   CiCi Bellis, a 17-year-old qualifier from Atherton, outclassed Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland 6-2, 6-3 in 1 hour, 17 minutes in 91-degree (32.8 Celsius) heat for her second Grand Slam victory.
   Bellis shocked 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia as a wild card in the opening round of the 2014 U.S. Open to become the youngest player to win a main-draw match at Flushing Meadows since Anna Kournikova, also 15, in 1996.
   After Bellis dismissed Golubic in their first career meeting, Mackenzie McDonald, a 21-year-old wild card who grew up in Piedmont on the other side of the bay, went up two sets to none against 26-year-old qualifier Jan Satral of the Czech Republic. Satral, however, prevailed 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in 3 hours, 6 minutes. Both players made their Grand Slam main-draw debut.
   Satral won the last four games of the match. After pounding a service winner on his first match point, he raised his arms in triumph while McDonald slammed his racket on the court in disgust.
   The 6-foot-2 (1.88-meter) Satral finished with 12 aces and seven double faults. McDonald, 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters), had four of each.
Mackenzie McDonald, a 21-year-old wild card who
grew up in Piedmont, lost to qualifier Jan Satral of
the Czech Republic 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Photo by
Paul Bauman
   Satral turned pro in 2010 and McDonald in June. Largely for that reason, Satral is ranked much higher (No. 226 to No. 406). As a UCLA junior in the spring, McDonald became the first man in 15 years to sweep the NCAA singles and doubles titles.   
   Golubic, a 23-year-old Zurich native, has a Serbian mother and Croatian father. One of the few women with a one-handed backhand, she is ranked a career-high No. 65 after winning her first career WTA title last month on clay in Gstaad, Switzerland.
   Neither Golubic nor Bellis, both 5-foot-7 (1.70 meters) and slender, hit an ace. Bellis had five double faults as she tightened up with big leads in each set and Golubic none. Bellis, though, was both more aggressive and consistent from the baseline than Golubic, who was broken six of eight times. Bellis' forehand, in particular, was devastating.
   Bellis, ranked No. 158, will face countrywoman Shelby Rogers, who's ranked a career-high No. 49, on Wednesday. The 23-year-old Rogers, a French Open quarterfinalist this past spring, upset 27th-seeded Sara Errani of Italy 6-4, 7-6 (3).
   Rogers defeated Bellis 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 on clay in the first round of a $75,000 tournament in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., in May in their only previous meeting.
   Bellis has verbally committed to Stanford, a five-minute drive from her home, for the fall of 2017 but has said she will turn pro instead if she cracks the top 100 in the world before then, a distinct possibility.      

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