27 Aug 2014

Bellis stuns Cibulkova as Americans thrive in New York

News Article

Photo: Francesco PanunzioCatherine Cartan Bellis (USA)

The second day of the US Open was hit by an unexpected surprise as world No. 1208 CiCi Bellis stunned Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova in the first round.

Bellis, who was awarded a main draw wild card for winning the US National Championships, became the youngest female US Open match winner since Anna Kournikova in 1996.

“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,” the 15-year-old said. Bellis will next face Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas for a place in the third round.

Second seed Roger Federer made a seemless start to his campaign for a sixth US Open title with a 63 64 76(4) win over Australia’s Marinko Matosevic.

With NBA legend Michael Jordan in his box, the 2004-2008 champion showcased his skills under the lights as he set up a second round meeting with another Australian, Sam Groth.

“I'm just so happy that he came into the world of tennis a little bit, you know, got to see some tennis, that it was me, sort of being the character in the whole show,” Federer said. “He was just my hero of all sports. That's what he was for me growing up. Besides Edberg and Becker being my tennis idols, I had Jordan as my all sports idol.”

Fellow five-time champion and 17-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams wasted little time closing out the night session on Ashe as she charged into the next round with a 63 61 win over fellow American Taylor Townsend.

Serena, who is yet to win a Grand Slam in 2014, is trying not to put too much pressure on herself in New York. “I've decided I'm not going to overthink it. I think I've overthought every Grand Slam so far this year. It didn't really work out great for me. So worst-case scenario, I'm just going to stay positive and do the best I can. That's all I can do.”

Victoria Azarenka also made her way into the second round as she came from behind to beat Misaki Doi 67(3) 64 61. After runner-up finishes in 2012 and 2013, Azarenka comes into this year’s tournament as 16th seed and low on matches after a season dogged by injuries.

Expressing her thoughts on her current condition, the Belarusian said; “I think coming back from not playing in general is always tough because you need to get that momentum. You know, I've been working hard on my body. I feel like I'm improving in every aspect.”

John Isner and Sam Querrey made their way through to the second round in contrasting circumstances. Isner got his 2014 campaign off to a positive start on Ashe with a three-set victory over countryman Marcos Giron while Querrey was pushed all the way by Argentina’s Maximo Gonzalez before prevailing 63 in the final set.

Alongside Bellis and Serena Williams, a huge band of American female talent secured second round status with Madison Keys, Nicole Gibbs, Coco Vandeweghe, Christina McHale and Shelby Rogers all posting wins on Tuesday.

Women’s contenders Petra Kvitova, Ana Ivanovic and Eugenie Bouchard all remain in the title hunt. Kvitova raced past Kristina Mladenovic 61 60, Ivanovic opened the day with a 63 60 win over Alison Riske and Bouchard proved too strong for Olga Govortsova with a 62 61 victory.