(August 9, 2014) San Diego, Calif. – Fifteen-year-old CiCi Bellis of Atherton, Calif., dreamed of playing at the US Open since she was seven year’s old. Later this month, that dream will become a reality.
The second-seeded Bellis overcame a nervous start and came back to defeat fifth-seeded Tornado Alicia Black, 6-3, 6-1, in one-hour and 45 minutes to win the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship, earning a wild card into the women’s main draw of the US Open.
On a cool, overcast morning on Stadium Court at the Barnes Tennis Center, Black broke Bellis in the second game of the opening set and went on to establish a 3-0 lead. Bellis rebounded as she began matching Black stroke for stroke from the baseline as the momentum of the match shifted in her favor.
Bellis, the No. 2 ranked junior player in the world, won six straight games to wrap-up the first in 50 minutes. In the second set, Bellis took a 3-0 lead before Black held serve at love to make the score 3-1.
After falling behind 0-30 on her serve in the fifth game, Bellis won the next eight points, as she held serve, then broke Black at love to increase her lead to 5-1. Serving for the match, Bellis fought off a break point and went on to close out the match with a forehand winner on her second match point.
Bellis’ eyes filled with tears of joy after winning the match, as she realized she was going to fulfill her dream of playing at the US Open. “I was so emotional at the end of the match. It feels amazing. I’ve been dreaming about playing there since I was seven years old,” she said. “The fact that I’m going to be playing there in a week and a half is amazing. I’m so excited.”
In addition to receiving a US Open wild card, Bellis was also award a USTA gold ball following the match. It has been a spectacular summer for Bellis, who compiled a 34-4 record in international junior competition on her way to winning four International Tennis Federation junior singles titles.
Black received a wild card into the women’s qualifying draw at the US Open. The 16-year-old reached the 2013 US Open Girls’ singles final as an unseeded wild card and was a Wimbledon junior quarterfinalist earlier this year. She is currently ranked 574 in the world and won her second career USTA Pro Circuit title last month.
In the Girls’ 18s doubles final, top-seeded Louisa Chirico of Harrison, N.Y., and Katerina Stewart of Coral Gables, Fla., defeated Josie Kuhlman of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and Kaitlyn McCarthy of Cary, N.C., 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to win the title. Chirico and Stewart received a wild card into the women’s doubles draw at the US Open.
For complete final match scores, results and draws, please go to: http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=139068#&&s=7