Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bellis, 18, loses to Lepchenko in Morocco

Varvara Lepchenko, shown in the 2015 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford,
dispatched CiCi Bellis 6-3, 6-2 today in the quarterfinals on clay in Rabat,
Morocco. Photo by Mal Taam
   For CiCi Bellis, one day was not enough time to recover from two consecutive long matches.
   The 18-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area lost to American Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 6-2 in 65 minutes today in the quarterfinals on clay in Rabat, Morocco.
   Lepchenko, a 30-year-old left-hander originally from Uzbekistan, broke Bellis' serve six times and saved the only break point against her.
   Bellis played for the third straight day after winning her first two matches 7-5 in the third set. On Wednesday, she survived one match point and outlasted No. 2 seed and defending champion Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 6-7 (3), 7-5, 7-5 in 3 hours, 8 minutes.  
   Bellis, by far the youngest player in the top 100 at No. 59, will rise about five spots when the next rankings are released on Monday.
   Lepchenko reached her first WTA semifinal since Stanford in 2015 and first on clay in her career. She will play Francesca Schiavone, a 36-year-old wild card from Italy. 
   Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion who will turn 37 on June 23, is coming off her eighth career singles title, on clay in Bogota. She has announced that she will retire at the end of the year. 

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