Sunday, November 6, 2016

Ahn, Bellis reach singles finals in 50K tourneys

Kristie Ahn, a former Stanford star, serves en route to the
quarterfinals of the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger in July.
She will face Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil today in Scotts-
dale, Ariz. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Kristie Ahn helped Stanford win the 2013 NCAA title and graduated in 2014.
   CiCi Bellis verbally committed to Stanford, a five-minute drive from her home in Atherton, over the summer but turned pro instead after reaching the third round of the U.S. Open as a qualifier.  
   Both will play for singles titles in $50,000 tournaments today.
   The unseeded Ahn, 24, from Upper Saddle River, N.J., surprised fourth-seeded Jennifer Brady of Boca Raton, Fla., 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on an outdoor hardcourt Saturday in Scottsdale, Ariz.
   The 5-foot-5 (1.66-meter) Ahn, ranked No. 242, will face unseeded Beatriz Haddad Maia, a Brazilian ranked No. 271, for the first time in the final.
   It will be the highest-level final of Ahn's career. She has won three titles in $25,000 tournaments and two in $10,000 events.
   Haddad Maia, 20, ended 17-year-old American Kayla Day's winning streak at eight matches with a 6-4, 6-1 victory in a matchup of left-handers. Day won a $50,000 tournament in Macon, Ga., on outdoor hardcourts last week.
   Haddad Maia eliminated top-seeded Nicole Gibbs, another member of Stanford's 2013 NCAA championship team, in the second round.
CiCi Bellis, 17, of Atherton lunges for a backhand
during her second-round victory over Shelby Rogers
in the U.S. Open in September. Bellis will play Jesika
Maleckova of the Czech Republic today in Toronto.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Day leads the Australian Open Wild Card Challenge after the first of three tournaments in three weeks (Macon, Scottsdale and Waco).  
   Bellis, ranked No. 101 at 17 years old, is on track to get straight into the Australian Open. Win or lose today's final on an indoor hardcourt in Toronto, she will crack the top 100 for the first time on Monday.
   The top-seeded Bellis will try to win her second consecutive title when she meets fourth-seeded Jesika Maleckova, 22, of the Czech Republic.
   Bellis, who won the crown in a $50,000 tournament in Saguenay, Quebec, on indoor hardcourts two weeks ago, defeated Raveena Kingsley, 18, of Fulton, Md., 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 in the semifinals.
   Maleckova, ranked No. 218, dispatched second-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-2,
   Bellis and Maleckova have met once. Maleckova won 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of a $25,000 clay-court tournament in Wesley Chapel, Fla., in January. She eventually lost to Sofia Kenin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., in the final.
   Kenin, who will turn 18 on Nov. 14, won the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger in July.  

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