Monday, November 11, 2019

Bellis breezes in second match of comeback

CiCi Bellis, serving in 2017, has not lost a set in two matches in the first tournament
of her comeback. Photo by Mal Taam
   Qualifier CiCi Bellis, playing in her first tournament after a 19-month layoff, dismissed Ellen Perez of Australia 6-3, 6-2 in 55 minutes today in the first round of the $162,480 Oracle Challenger Series in Houston.
   Bellis, who was born in San Francisco and grew up in nearby Atherton, has not lost a set in two matches in the hardcourt tournament. The 20-year-old right-hander is returning from three operations on her right wrist and one on her right elbow.
   "I knew (Perez) was going to come out firing," Bellis said on "She's such a great player. I've known her forever. I just had to counteract her pace, move really well and move her around really well."
   Perez, a 24-year-old left-hander ranked No. 238 in singles and No. 66 in doubles, was impressed with Bellis' performance in their first meeting.
   "Welcome back to the tour @cicibellis your game looked like you never left!" Perez tweeted. "Big things are coming for you again."
   Bellis, who reached a career-high No. 35 in 2017, is scheduled to face another left-hander, 16th-seeded Varvara Lepchenko, on Tuesday at about noon PST. Live streaming is available.
   Lepchenko, a 33-year-old American citizen from Uzbekistan, received a first-round bye.
   Ranked No. 167 after climbing as high as No. 19 in 2012, Lepchenko is 1-0 against Bellis. Lepchenko won 6-3, 6-2 in the quarterfinals on clay in Rabat, Morocco, in 2017.
   In the Houston men's draw, Collin Altamirano of Sacramento leads Gage Brymer of Irvine in the Los Angeles area 6-2, 1-4 in a first-round match suspended by rain.
   Second seed and defending champion Bradley Klahn, a 29-year-old Stanford graduate, and 13th-seeded Jenson Brooksby, 19, of Carmichael in the Sacramento region received first-round byes.

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