Wed | Aug 16, 2017

'CiCi' Bellis stuns Cibulkova at US Open

Published:Wednesday | August 27, 2014 | 8:00 AM

NEW YORK (AP):

While 15-year-old American 'CiCi' Bellis was in the process of stunning a Grand Slam finalist to become the youngest player to win a US Open match since 1996, her father did his best to conceal his emotions courtside.

Like many a teen, 'CiCi' has strict rules for Dad in public - even if his 1,208th-ranked daughter is pulling out a back-and-forth 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory yesterday over 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova in the first round at Flushing Meadows.

"I'm told I cannot sigh and I cannot move or say anything (because) that distracts her, so I just have to sit there like a Sphinx and just smile and pray," the elder Bellis, Gordon, explained with a deadpan delivery. "She hears me when I sigh. So I can't sigh."

Ah, yes, the joys of raising kids. And make no mistake, Bellis is a kid. She is home-schooled and about to start 10th grade. Her first memory of the US Open is watching on TV while Maria Sharapova played. She likes to hang out at the mall with friends back home in California. Asked whether she's a fan of pop star Justin Bieber, Bellis answered, "I used to like him when I was younger, a couple years ago."

Her victory was the most surprising of the afternoon session on day two of the year's last Grand Slam tournament. Another American teen, Taylor Townsend, was set to face two-time defending champion Serena Williams at night, after Roger Federer played Marinko Matosevic.

"Believing was the No. 1 thing that I had to do today," said Bellis, whose nickname CiCi is derived from the initials of her first and middle names, Catherine Cartan. "That's what my coach told me before the match also: Just go out there and believe that you can win."