Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Bellis breezes in first Grand Slam match in two years

CiCi Bellis, a 20-year-old San Francisco Bay Area product, routed Tatjana Maria,
a 32-year-old mother from Germany, 6-0, 6-2 in 52 minutes today in the first round
of the Australian Open. 2017 photo by Mal Taam 
   CiCi Bellis' first Grand Slam match in two years worked out pretty well.
   The 20-year-old San Francisco Bay Area product demolished Tatjana Maria, a 32-year-old mother from Germany, 6-0 6-2 in 52 minutes late Monday night (California time) in the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
   Bellis, who was born in San Francisco and grew up in nearby Atherton, put in 73 percent of her first serves (33 of 45) to Maria's 46 percent (18 of 39).
   It was Bellis' first Grand Slam match since a three-set loss to 30th-seeded Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in the 2018 Australian Open and Bellis' first victory in a major since she beat Bertens in the second round of the 2017 French Open.
   Bellis had four operations, three on her right wrist and one on her right elbow, during a 19-month layoff that ended last November.
   Bellis next will face 20th-seeded Karolina Muchova, 23, of the Czech Republic for the first time. Muchova, a Wimbledon quarterfinalist last year, edged Kirsten Flipkens, a 34-year-old Belgian who reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 2013, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7) in 2 hours, 26 minutes.
   Muchova is ranked 22nd. Bellis has plummeted from a career-high No. 35 in 2017 to No. 600.
   Another San Francisco native, 32-year-old Sam Querrey, defeated Ricardas Berankis, a 29-year-old Lithuanian, 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round. The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey pounded 26 aces as he improved to 3-0 against the 5-foot-9 (1.75-meter) Berankis.
   Querrey advanced to the third round of the Australian Open for the sixth time in 14 appearances (all consecutive). He will try to reach the round of 16 for the first time when he faces countryman Tennys Sandgren, an Australian Open quarterfinalist in 2018.
   Sandgren took out eighth-seeded Matteo Berrettini, a U.S. Open semifinalist last September, 7-6 (7), 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 7-5 in 3:23. Serving at 3-4 in the fifth set, Sandgren overcame a 0-40 deficit to hold.
   Querrey is 1-0 against Sandgren, prevailing 6-4, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) in the round of 16 at Wimbledon last summer.

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