Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bellis, 18, surprises Suarez Navarro in Mallorca

CiCi Bellis, playing in the Stockton (Calif.) Challenger
last July, beat fourth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro
6-3, 7-5 in the first round of the Mallorca Open.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis pulled off another upset on yet another surface today.
   The 18-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area ousted fourth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro, playing in her home country of Spain, 6-3, 7-5 on grass in the first round of the Mallorca Open. It was their first career meeting.
   Suarez Navarro, who has fallen from a career-high No. 6 early last year to No. 26, is the sixth top-30 player Bellis has beaten this year. Bellis knocked off two on hardcourts and three on clay, helping her rise to No. 42 in the world rankings.
   Suarez Navarro, 28, also is the fourth Grand Slam quarterfinalist or better Bellis has defeated this year and seventh overall. Suarez Navarro has reached the quarterfinals twice in the Australian Open, twice in the French Open and once at the U.S. Open. Although clay is her best surface, she has advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon twice, including last year.
   Suarez Navarro is tied for the fifth-highest-ranked player Bellis has beaten in her career. Heading the list are No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska in the third round at Dubai in February, No. 13 Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open and No. 18 Kiki Bertens in the second round of the French Open on May 31.
   Bellis, who's closing in on a seeding for the U.S. Open in August (if not Wimbledon in two weeks), is scheduled to play 49th-ranked Mona Barthel of Germany for the first time on Wednesday.
   The 6-foot-1 (1.85-meter) Barthel, who climbed to a career-high No. 23 in 2013, defeated qualifier Anna Kalinskaya of Russia 7-6 (6), 6-4.

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