Friday, February 16, 2018

Qualifier Bellis, 18, pushes Halep in Doha loss

   After a slow start, CiCi Bellis gave second-ranked Simona Halep a battle today before losing.
   Halep reeled off the first seven games and held on to defeat Bellis, an 18-year-old qualifier who was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, 6-0, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Qatar Total Open in Doha.
   Halep faced no break points in the first set but 10 in the second set, saving eight, in her first match against Bellis.  
   "She's fast," Halep said of the 2017 WTA Newcomer of the Year. "She's hitting the ball fast, and she stays close to the baseline, which makes her game fast, and it's not easy to stay there. You have to be aggressive to make points. In the second set, I couldn't finish the points because she was everywhere, and she has great movement."
   Halep later withdrew from her semifinal against fourth-seeded Garbine Muguruza with a right foot injury suffered during the Australian Open last month. Halep fell to 0-3 in Grand Slam finals with her 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-4 loss to Caroline Wozniacki in Melbourne.
   Bellis, the youngest player in the top 50 by almost two years, will rise about eight places to No. 40 on Monday. She reached a career-high No. 35 last August.

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