Her name was unknown just a few days ago, but after her amazing win against 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the 2014 US Open, CiCi Bellis was on fire. Everyone had high expectations for the young American tennis player. However, ESPN has reported on Friday that the 15-year-old Californian lost in the second round to 48th seed, Zarina Diyas, in a 6-3, 0-6, 6-2 match.
It was certainly anything but a shutout as the teen fought hard to make it to the next round. Bellis had plenty of support from the crowd, even hearing her name being chanted in between plays. The excitement was not only because she hails from the United Sates, but Bellis is also the youngest player since Anna Kournikova won in 1996 to grab a US Open match. The 1,208th seed is also playing in the junior’s tournament next week in New York.
The evening match started out rough for Bellis as nerves may have gotten the best of her in the first set. The pressure of overnight fame and high expectations among avid tennis fans looked like it was taking its toll. However, she tried slowing down in between plays and to breathe a bit more. It seemed to work as she eventually went on to a seven-game winning stretch.
Diyas handled the pressure pretty well with obviously not being the favorite to win the match against CiCi Bellis. However, the 20-year-old tennis player faltered in the second set. She did gain her mojo in the third and came back to beat the young American by taking the third and final set.
Both Bellis and Diyas fought hard for the second round win but ultimately, it was the Kazakhstani player that went on to the next round at the US Open. Bellis has certainly nothing to cry about as she is now considered the tennis version of ‘America’s sweetheart.’ She is a force to be reckoned with in the future of tennis. Her surprise win in the first round has gained her at the very least more confidence in her abilities on the court among the pros.
“Maybe it didn't turn out how I wanted it to, but thank you, everybody, for coming out and watching," Bellis said in the after-match interview. "It was amazing. I mean, I never thought I'd be here."
She has described this experience as ‘the best couple days of her life.’ It might have been that way for many American tennis fans as well. Look for this bright young star to begin a hefty career in the sport of tennis.