Saturday, June 24, 2017

German routs Bellis, 18, in Mallorca semifinals

Doubles partners Julia Goerges, left, and Karolina
Pliskova are interviewed at Indian Wells last year.
They reached the final, losing to Bethanie Mattek-
Sands and CoCo Vandeweghe 4-6, 6-4 [10-6]..
Photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis' breakthrough week on grass ended abruptly today.
   Bellis, an 18-year-old San Francisco native who grew up in nearby Atherton, lost to resurgent Julia Goerges of Germany 6-1, 6-1 in 59 minutes in a semifinal matchup of unseeded players in the Mallorca Open. It was Bellis' first tournament on grass since she lost in the first round of Wimbledon juniors three years ago.
   Goerges, 10 years older and four inches (10.2 centimeters) taller than the 5-foot-7 (1.68-meter) Bellis, slugged 27 winners against just 12 errors. She pounded six aces versus two double faults and converted 6 of 7 break points.
   "I needed a little bit of time to figure out the way she's playing; I've watched her quite a few times but I haven't played her before," Goerges, who has plunged from a career-high No. 15 in 2012 to No. 54, said on "Obviously, she's very young and she's going to have a bright future. When you just play to her, she likes to hit the ball and redirect the ball very well, so I tried to mix it a little bit, to get the drop shots, and the slice and some volleys in and not only serving bombs. I tried to use this as my weapon today."
   Bellis won only 8 of 21 points (38 percent) on her first serve and just 4 of 17 points (24 percent) on her second delivery.
   Goerges, who routed top seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 6-2, 6-1 in the second round, has lost only 14 games in her four matches without dropping a set. She will face No. 2 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia in the final. Sevastova defeated No. 3 Caroline Garcia 6-4, 6-2 to avenge a loss to the Frenchwoman in last year's final.
   Bellis, the youngest player in the top 50, will rise from No. 42 to a career high of about No. 38 on Monday. A ranking of No. 32 or better would guarantee her a seeding in the U.S. Open in August. Bellis turned pro last September after reaching the third round at Flushing Meadows as a qualifier.
   Bellis won't have to wait long for a chance at revenge against Goerges. They are scheduled to meet in the first round at Eastbourne next week. The winner will play No. 8 seed and 2008 champion Agnieszka Radwanska, who has a first-round bye. Bellis stunned Radwanska in the third round at Dubai on hardcourts in February for her only victory over a top-10 player.
   Wimbledon begins a week from Monday.

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