Thursday, March 8, 2018

Bellis to face defending champ Vesnina in BNP

   CiCi Bellis wasted no time setting up a match against defending champion Elena Vesnina in the BNP Paribas Open, considered the "fifth" Grand Slam tournament.
   Bellis, an 18-year-old San Francisco native who grew up in nearby Atherton, dismissed qualifier Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain 6-0, 6-3 in 65 minutes today in the first round at Indian Wells. The afternoon match was played in at 16,100-seat Stadium 1.
   It was Bellis' first victory in the BNP Paribas Open. In her tournament debut last year, she lost to 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 after leading 3-0 (one service break) in the final set. That match also was played at Stadium 1, as Bellis' first encounter with Vesnina undoubtedly will be on Saturday.
   Vesnina, ranked and seeded 24th, received a first-round bye.
   Bellis, ranked 45th, is by far the youngest player in the top 50. She's 22 months younger than No. 6 Jelena Ostapenko and 23 months younger than No. 19 Daria Kasatkina.
   However, No. 54 Marketa Vondrousova almost three months younger than Bellis. They reached the French Open girls doubles final in 2014, losing 6-1, 5-7 [11-9] to Romanians Ioana Ducu and Ioana Loredana.

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