Thu, Mar 26, 2015 - Page 20 News List

CiCi Bellis advances at Miami Open

AP and Reuters, KEY BISCAYNE, Florida

Japan’s Kurumi Nara returns to Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia in their women’s singles match at the Miami Open in Florida on Tuesday.

Photo: EPA

CiCi Bellis defeated Indy de Vroome of the Netherlands 6-2, 6-2 at the Miami Open on Tuesday for her second career WTA main draw match win.

The 15-year-old Bellis defeated the 227th-ranked

De Vroome in one of 12 women’s main draw matches played on the opening day.

The 211th-ranked Bellis made news at the US Open last year when she upset 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, the Australian Open finalist that year, in three sets in the first round.

In the Miami Open second round, Bellis faces 29th-seeded Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

The 44th-ranked Madison Brengle of the US also advanced on Tuesday posting a 6-0, 6-2 win against Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia. Brengle is to play fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.

Monica Niculescu of Romania outlasted American Shelby Rogers 7-6 (7/1), 6-1 to secure a second consecutive, second-round match against top-seeded Serena Williams. The two played at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, with Williams prevailing 7-5, 7-5 in a match that spanned just over two hours.

In other matches on Tuesday, Kaia Kanepi defeated Canadian wild-card Francoise Abanda 6-2, 6-3, Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia defeated Polona Hercog of Slovenia 6-3, 6-2 and Karin Knapp of Italy defeated Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-0.

Paula Badosa Gibert beat Petra Cetkovska 6-1, 6-1; Johanna Larsson beat Yaroslava Shvedova 6-4, 7-6 (7/4); Kristina Mladenovic downed Klara Koukalova 6-4, 6-4; and Tereza Smitkova defeated Natalia Vikhlyantseva 0-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Bojana Jovanovski beat Mona Barthel 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 and Kurumi Nara defeated Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4, 6-3.

Meanwhile, world No. 3 Simona Halep says it is hard to imagine reaching the top of the world rankings as long as Serena is playing the game, but says she has what it takes to win a Grand Slam.

The Romanian is coming off the biggest success of her career so far with a victory over Jelena Jankovic in the final at Indian Wells on Sunday.

The win was the third of the year for the 23-year-old following victories in Shenzhen and Dubai, and while she is firmly entrenched as No. 3, behind Serena and Maria Sharapova, she says getting to top spot may be a step too far.

“When Serena is No. 1, its hard to think of being No. 1, but still I have confidence that I can win more titles and reach a higher ranking,” Halep told reporters on Tuesday.

The Miami Open has almost become the personal property of the Williams sisters, who live in nearby Palm Beach Garden and have won the event 10 times between them, Serena lifting the title on seven occasions and Venus three.

Still, Halep, who has never ventured past the third round in Miami, does not believe that Serena is unbeatable.

“She [Serena] is very strong, she is a great champion, she has been up there for many years. She knows how to manage every situation,” Halep said. “I admire her a lot and learnt many things from her.”

“After the first match at Indian Wells, I told my coach that I really wanted to play her in the semi-finals, but it didn’t happen because of her injury,” Halep said. “I really want to meet her many times, because I become stronger after I play her.”

Halep has her eyes on becoming the first Romanian woman since her manager, Virginia Ruzici, French Open winner in 1978, to secure a Grand Slam title.

“I can say I feel ready because I just won a premier tournament, which is almost like a Grand Slam, but still I am very far and I just want to be very focused,” she said. “My dream is to win a Grand Slam. I don’t know if it will happen in this life, but I just want to work hard every day to reach a [major] title.”

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