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Day 2 Recap: Introducing CiCi Bellis

American CiCi Bellis defeats 12 seed Dominika Cibulkova.
By E.J. Crawford
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The US Open has a new darling.
Day 2 delivered the first big upset of the 2014 edition, with 15-year-old American wild card CiCi Bellis stunning the No. 12 seed and 2014 Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova in three sets on Court No. 6 – delighting the crowd with her enthusiasm and, afterward, wowing reporters with her poise.
There were plenty of “wow” moments on this Tuesday, whether it was the wizardry of Roger Federer, who eased past Marinko Matosevic in the night session, or the power of 17-year-old Borna Coric, the 2013 US Open junior champion who dismantled No. 29 seed Lukas Rosol during the day. Throw in the utter dominance of a trio of women’s contenders – No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard, No. 8 Ana Ivanoic and No. 3 Petra Kvitova – and there was plenty to entertain the crowds throughout the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Of course, not everyone sailed through on Day 2. Marina Erakovic eliminated 2004 US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first final-set tiebreak of this year’s Open. American Sam Querrey needed a fifth set to oust Maximo Gonzalez, while 2012-13 US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka was forced to dig deep early on her road back to the women's final, defeating Misaki Doi, 6-7, 6-4, 6-1.
All that, and we still have 13 days to go.
Here’s a recap of the day that was and a look ahead to Day 3 of the 2014 US Open:
Match of the Day: Much like when Victoria Duval dazzled New York a year ago with her first-round upset of Samantha Stosur, you could make a case for CiCi Bellis making a clean sweep of the Day 2 honors. The 15-year-old, who won the International Spring Championships and Easter Bowl earlier this year to climb to No. 2 in the world junior rankings, secured her wild card into this year’s Open by winning the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships. Slight of frame, she figured to be overmatched against a big hitter like Dominika Cibulkova. But the youngster was unbowed, standing on the baseline and trading ground strokes like a seasoned pro. The result was a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 shocker that made Bellis the youngest player to win a singles match at the US Open since Anna Kournikova in 1996 – and the newly minted belle of this year’s US Open ball.
Players of the Day: Ana Ivanovic and Petra Kvitova have had their struggles at the US Open, advancing to the quarterfinals just once in 15 combined appearances, yet few, if any, looked more impressive on Day 2 than the 2008 French Open champion or the reigning Wimbledon winner, respectively. Both were handed potentially tricky draws – Ivanovic against American Alison Riske, a Top 50 player who reached the fourth round here a year ago, and Kvitova against Kristina Mladenovic, the former top junior who ousted Li Na in the first round at Roland Garros. Instead, both cruised, with Ivanovic sweeping to a 6-3, 6-0 victory and Kvitova posting a 6-1, 6-0 win. It’s a long way to this year’s quarterfinals, but their first-round form puts both women in prime position to advance.
Upset of the Day: It’s hard to top Bellis here, but she’s already well represented in this recap. In truth, she wasn’t the only junior phenom to pull off a stunner. On Court 8, 2013 US Open boys’ singles champion Borna Coric, just 17 years of age, upended No. 29 seed Lukas Rosol in surprisingly easy fashion, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. The result was even more surprising considering the quality of Rosol’s play of late. He entered the Open ranked a career-best No. 27 and was coming off his second career title, at the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Winston-Salem. But he was never in this match as the Croat, playing in his first Grand Slam main draw, dominated from start to finish. In the second round the former junior No. 1 faces another surprise entrant, Victor Estrella Burgos, who on Tuesday became the first Dominican player ever to win a round at a Grand Slam tournament.
Quote of the Day: “Believing was the number one thing that I had to do today. Just go out there and believe that you can win. If you do believe, there's two options. You can either believe and lose or believe and win, but if you don't believe you're going to lose anyway.” – CiCi Bellis, after upsetting No. 12 Dominika Cibulkova to become the youngest player to win a singles match at the US Open since 1996
Looking Ahead: The first round wraps on Wednesday as the men complete their opening stanza and the women kick off Round 2. The day’s marquee match on the men’s side is 2001 US Open champion Lleyton Hewitt taking on 2012 semifinalist and No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych. Wednesday will also feature No. 3 seed Stanislas Wawrinka playing the night session against Thomaz Bellucci and No. 7 seed Grigor Dimitrov kicking off his fortnight against hard-luck American Ryan Harrison, who will be facing a Top 10 seed at the Open for the third year in a row.
No. 2 seed Simona Halep, who struggled in the opening round, and No. 5 seed Maria Sharapova, who did not, headline the women’s action as they continue their course toward a quarterfinal matchup. Also, Venus Williams, who could meet Halep in the round of 16, is back on the court in the night session against Timea Bacsinszky.