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 oraclechallengerseries.com. "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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