(August 26, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – On Tuesday, American 15-year-old CiCi Bellis became the youngest player to win a US. Open match since 1996 as she produced the biggest upset in the tournament so far dismissing Australian Open runner-up and 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
“I went into the match thinking it was going to be such a great experience, but I never thought I would come out on top winning, said the 1208th ranked player Bellis.
“I’m feeling amazing. I’m still speechless. I’m still in shock about that match. I went in thinking I was going to play as well as I could possibly play. I obviously played pretty well. So I’m really happy.”
Bellis talked about coming back from being down a break in the final set: “When I was down 3-1, it was kind of a bummer, because I won the first set, lost the second. We had a long game the first game of the third set. I ended up winning that and then lost three games in a row. I just kind of told myself, Calm down, don’t think about who you’re playing, who is on the other side of the court. Just be free. You have nothing to lose.”
Bellis won the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship to earn a wild card into her first major which also and first tour-level main draw. She was the youngest champion of the National Championships since Lindsay Davenport also won it at 15 back in 1991. Anna Kournikova was the last 15-year-old to win at the U.S. Open in 1996.
“I think it was a really great experience to play that(National Championships), then come here and play. Those girls in the girls 18s, they’re not that far off from these pros. It’s crazy to say, but they’re really good.”
“Just go out there and believe that you can win. I mean, if you play well, you can if you believe in it,” Bellis said about her belief that she could win the match. “If you don’t believe, there’s one option. If you do believe, there’s two options. You can either believe and lose or believe and win, but if you don’t believe you’re going to lose anyway.”
Bellis will take a pass on the 60,000 she’s earned for her first round win as she intends to remain an amateur.
“I think I’m definitely going to stay an amateur right now to keep my options open for college, in case an injury or something happens. But I’d love to be a pro one day.”
Next up for Bellis is No. 48th Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.