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Bellis kicks off girls' singles campaign in style

By McCarton Ackerman
Monday, September 1, 2014

WHAT HAPPENED: American teenager Catherine (CiCi) Bellis became the darling of the first week of the US Open after upsetting No. 12 seed Dominika Cibulkova in the first-round of the women’s singles draw before losing in the second round. She’s now turning her attention to the juniors as the No. 1 seed in the girls’ singles draw and opened up her campaign in style, dominating Renata Zarazua of Mexico in a first-round match on the Grandstand, 6-1, 6-3 on Monday.

Perhaps overwhelmed at playing on a show court, Zarazua appeared tense at first and won just five points in the first four games of the match. Flattening out her forehand to take control of the rallies, a forehand winner gave Bellis a 5-1 lead in the opening set and she closed things out in the next game with a service winner.

The No. 28 ranked junior Zarazua appeared to settle in when the second set started, finally hitting her first winner of the match in the opening point and holding serve to start things. But while her foot speed kept her in the rallies, Bellis simply had too much game for her opponent. The 15-year-old broke Zarazua to take a 3-2 lead and converted on her first match point when her opponent sent a forehand wide, wrapping up the match after just more than an hour of play.

WHAT IT MEANS: Bellis now plays either Natalia Vikhlyantseva of Russia or Sandra Samir of Egypt in the second-round. The American will be looking to win her first junior Grand Slam title this week.

THE QUESTION: Do you think Bellis can go all the way in the girls’ singles draw this year?