The Washington Post

U.S. Open notebook: Serena Williams wins easily; teenager CiCi Bellis wins a stunner

Serena Williams believes 18-year-old Taylor Townsend is the future of women’s tennis, but in the opening-round match between the two Americans, Williams showed why she’s still the present Tuesday, routing Townsend, 6-3, 6-1.

As Townsend, a heavy-hitting southpaw, has risen through the ranks, Williams, 33, has paid attention. Williams said the two are “good friends,” talking and texting each other frequently. After Williams won the match, the two hugged.

Williams wasn’t friendly to Townsend during the match. Broken by Williams in her second service game, Townsend began unraveling with four double faults and 11 unforced errors in the first set. Williams carried on the dominance to the second set, winning four of five break points in the match.

“You see players that, you know, stay back and hug the baselines, as I do,” Williams said. “But it’s good, refreshing, and I think it’s the future of tennis just by doing what she does.”

Bellis breaks through

The emotions of being the youngest player to win a U.S. Open match since Anna Kournikova in 1996 hadn’t yet sunk in for 15-year-old CiCi Bellis. She had other concerns.

“I’m pretty hungry right now,” Bellis said. “I could eat anything right now.”

Bellis, who earned a wild-card berth by virtue of winning the USTA girls’ 18s national championship, beat No. 12 seed Dominika Cibulkova, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

The San Francisco native still plans to play in the U.S. Open junior championships next week, but beyond that, Bellis is still digesting her new fame, trending on Twitter after her surprising win.

“I know some of my friends were doing hashtag like ‘#TakeDownCibulkova’, or something like that,” she said.

Bellis hadn’t played many professional tournaments before, her last being in March, and she’s ranked No. 1,208.

She got ready for the biggest stage in her young career by listening to dance music, but not Justin Bieber because she outgrew him when she was younger. Bellis, whose name is a blend of her first name, Catherine, and her middle name, Cartan, said she plans to stay an amateur, but will play more pro tournaments in the future. By choosing to stay an amateur, she is turning down the $60,420 she would get by advancing to the second round.

“I went into the match thinking it was going to be such a great experience,” Bellis said. “But I never thought I would come out on top winning.”

Bouchard moves on

Eugenie Bouchard had won just one match since advancing to the Wimbledon final nearly two months ago, but she advanced to the second round with ease, beating Olga Govortsova in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1.

Bouchard, a 20-year-old Canadian, has advanced to at least the semifinals in every Grand Slam this year.

“I don’t think there is a magic recipe that if I get to the quarters of a women’s event I’ll do well at the slam,” Bouchard said. “I think you just take it as it goes. Obviously, I would have liked more matches, but that’s the way it is sometimes. I feel like I practiced well before, and that was the best I could do at that moment.”

American roundup

Jack Sock (world No. 55) retired from his match against Pablo Andujar after three sets because of a right calf injury. Sock won the Wimbledon doubles championship with Canadian Vasek Pospisil. . . .

Sam Querrey, No. 57 on the ATP Tour, needed five sets to beat Maximo Gonzalez, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. South Carolina native Shelby Rogers also advanced with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Maryna Zanevska. American Varvara Lepchenko beat Alison Van Uytvanck, 7-5, 6-2.

In an all-American match, John Isner beat Marcos Giron, who got a wild card as the NCAA men’s singles champion, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 7-6 (7-2). . . .

Alison Riske was ousted by eighth-seeded Ana Ivanovic, 6-3, 6-0, as was American Lauren Davis, who lost to Aussie and 2011 U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur, 6-1, 6-4.

Isabelle Khurshudyan covers the Washington Capitals. You can email her at and follow her on Twitter @ikhurshudyan.



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