Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Bellis survives Houston test; Cibulkova retires at 30

Qualifier CiCi Bellis, shown in 2017, edged 16th-seeded Varvara Lepchenko
6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) today in the second round of the Oracle Challenger Series in
Houston. Bellis, a 20-year-old San Francisco Bay Area product, is playing in
her first tournament in 19 months. Photo by Mal Taam
   CiCi Bellis survived the first big test of her comeback.
   The 20-year-old qualifier, who was born in San Francisco and grew up in nearby Atherton, edged 16th-seeded Varvara Lepchenko, a 33-year-old American from Uzbekistan, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) in 2 hours, 25 minutes today in the second round of the $162,480 Oracle Challenger Series in Houston.
   Bellis reached a career-high No. 35 in 2017. The right-hander is playing in her first tournament since undergoing three operations on her right wrist and one on her right elbow and sitting out for 19 months.
   Lepchenko, a left-hander, is ranked No. 167 after climbing as high as No. 19 in 2012.
   Bellis will take on another 33-year-old former top-20 player, third-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, on Thursday. Live streaming is available.
   Flipkens, ranked No. 94, nipped 17-year-old Hailey Baptiste of Washington, D.C., 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) in 2:04.
   Flipkens reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 2013, catapulting her to a career-high No. 13. In her only match against Bellis, Flipkens prevailed 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the first round at Indian Wells in 2017.
   Meanwhile, 14th-seeded Caroline Dolehide, a 20-year-old native of Hinsdale, Ill., now based in Orlando, Fla., beat Giuliana Olmos of Mexico 7-5, 6-4.
   Dolehide reached the quarterfinals of the $60,000 Berkeley (Calif.) Tennis Club Challenge in July.  Olmos, 26, was born in Austria and grew up in Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   In the completion of a men's match suspended by rain, Collin Altamirano of Sacramento defeated Gage Brymer of Irvine in the Los Angeles area 6-2, 7-6 (5) in the opening round.
   The 23-year-old Altamirano, ranked No. 390, will face 11th-seeded Adrian Menendez-Maceiras, a 34-year-old Spaniard ranked No. 236, for the first time.
   Cibulkova retires – Dominika Cibulkova, who won the 2013 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, announced her retirement at 30.
   The 5-foot-3 (1.61-meter) Cibulkova peaked at No. 4, the highest ranking by a Slovakian woman, in 2017 and became the first woman from her country to reach a Grand Slam final, losing to Li Na in the 2014 Australian Open.
   Cibulkova also advanced to the French Open semifinals in 2009, the Wimbledon quarterfinals three times (2011, 2016 and 2018) and the U.S. Open quarters in 2010. She won eight WTA singles titles, including the 2016 WTA Finals.

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