Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Qualifier Bellis, 18, upsets Keys in Qatar

   Chalk up another big win for CiCi Bellis.
   The 18-year-old qualifier, who was born in San Francisco and grew up in nearby Atherton, knocked off compatriot Madison Keys, seeded 12th and ranked 14th, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 today in the second round of the Qatar Total Open in Doha.
   Bellis won 10 of the last 11 games in her first meeting with Keys.
   The 5-foot-7 (1.68-meter) Bellis recorded her seventh victory over a top-20 player and second this year. She defeated then-No. 20 Magdalena Rybarikova, a Wimbledon semifinalist last year, in the first round at Sydney last month.
   Bellis, now based in Orlando, Fla., also earned her sixth win over a Grand Slam champion or runner-up (although she beat Jelena Ostapenko the year before the Latvian won the French Open). The 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter) Keys reached last year's U.S. Open final, losing to Fresno product Sloane Stephens, after winning the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford earlier in the summer.
   Keys, who climbed to a career-high No. 7 in October 2016, also advanced to the Australian Open quarterfinals last month.
   Bellis, the youngest player in the top 50 by almost two years at No. 48, will meet defending champion Karolina Pliskova, seeded and ranked fifth, for the second time on Thursday. The 6-foot-1 (1.86-meter) Pliskova, the 2015 Bank of the West runner-up who ascended to No. 1 last July, won 6-1, 6-1 in the second round at Brisbane in the first week of the year.
   "I'll have to play aggressive because she runs very well at the baseline," Pliskova, a 6-2, 6-3 winner over Alize Cornet of France, said on "I still have to play my game, serve better than I did today, and hopefully I can win that match."
   In the second and last round of qualifying in Doha, Bellis defeated Russia's Sofya Zhuk, the Wimbledon girls singles champion in 2015 at 15 years old, 6-1, 6-3.

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