By Erin Maher
Throughout the 2017 US Open Series season, we’ll take a look at a young American who excelled at the previous week’s event. This week’s rising star is CiCi Bellis, who advanced to her first WTA Premier-level semifinal at the recently completed Bank of the West Classic.
The CiCi Bellis File
Hometown: Atherton, CA
Current Rank: 36
Career-High Rank: 36 (August 2017)
Bellis first made a name for herself at the 2014 US Open, when she upset No. 12 seed Dominika Cibulkova to become the youngest player to win a match in Flushing Meadows since Anna Kournikova in 1996. The young American has shined ever since, with 2017 serving as her breakout campaign.
Bellis was No. 74 to start the season but has surged into the Top 40 by posting strong showings at a series of events around the world. The 18-year-old reached the third round at the Australian Open, the quarterfinals in Dubai and Rabat and the semifinals in Mallorca.
That set the stage for last week’s Bank of the West Classic, where Bellis enjoyed home-turf advantage. (She lives just five minutes from the tournament.) She sailed past Frenchman Alize Cornet, Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede Royg and former world No. 2 Petra Kvitova – dropping just two games to the two-time Wimbledon champion – to make it to the semifinals, where she fell to fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe.
Her run in Stanford marks Bellis’s best WTA result to date and puts her on the cusp of being seeded at the 2017 US Open.
CiCi’s actual name is Catherine. Her moniker, “CiCi”, came from the combination of her first and middle names, “Catherine Cartan”.