Monday, May 8, 2017

Teen Bellis beats another top-30 player

CiCi Bellis, playing in the U.S. Open last August, defeated
26th-ranked Daria Gavrilova on Sunday in the first round
of the Madrid Open on clay. Photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis was back to her energetic self on Sunday.
   The 18-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area beat 26th-ranked Daria Gavrilova of Australia 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 on clay in the first round of the Madrid Open.
   It was Bellis' sixth victory over a top-30 player and fourth this year, even though she missed the first six weeks of 2017 with a hamstring injury.
   On Thursday, a physically drained Bellis lost to American Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 6-2 in the quarterfinals on clay in Rabat, Morocco. Bellis was playing for the third consecutive day after winning 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 play Sorana Cirstea, a 27-year-old wild card from Romania, for the first time in Madrid on Tuesday. Cirstea, ranked No. 83, upset 13th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the Rabat champion, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (5).
   Cirstea reached the French Open quarterfinals in 2009 and the Toronto final in 2013. In the latter tournament, she beat Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic, Petra Kvitova and Li Na before losing to Serena Williams. That catapulted Cirstea to a career-high No. 21.
   However, Cirstea dropped out of the top 200 in 2015 because of shoulder injuries.

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