Wednesday, May 17, 2017

CiCi falls to Kiki in Italian Open

CiCi Bellis, playing in the Stockton (Calif.) Challenger
last July, lost to 15th-seeded Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-0 today
in the second round of the Italian Open. Photo by
Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis, an 18-year-old qualifier who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, lost to 15th-seeded Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-0 today on clay in the second round of the Italian Open in Rome.
   The 6-foot (1.82-meter) Bertens, a French Open semifinalist last year, won 27 of 30 points (90 percent) on her first serve but only six of 22 on her second delivery (27 percent).
   Bertens, ranked 20th, will face Russia's Ekaterina Makarova, who upset fourth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, for a quarterfinal berth.
   Bellis, who turned pro last September after reaching the third round of the U.S. Open as a qualifier, will become the youngest player in the top 50 when the new rankings are released on Monday. The Atherton product, now based in Orlando, Fla., will rise from No. 53 to about No. 45.    
   Three teenage women, all 19, are ranked in the top 50. They are No. 28 Ana Konjuh of Croatia, No. 49 Naomi Osaka of Japan and No. 50 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.
   Against Bertens, the 5-foot-7 (1.68-meter), 120-pound (54.4-kilogram) Bellis was trying to defeat a Grand Slam quarterfinalist or better for the sixth time and a top-20 player for the third time. She stunned No. 13 Cibulkova in the 2014 U.S. Open at 15 years old and No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the third round at Dubai in February.
   By beating Cibulkova, Bellis became the youngest player to win a match at the U.S. Open since 15-year-old Anna Kournikova in 1996.

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