NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — American teen CiCi Bellis became the youngest player to win a U.S. Open match since 1996 — almost three years before she was born — when she stunned Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova.
The 15-year-old Bellis rallied from down a break in the third set for a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 first-round victory Tuesday over the 12th-seeded Cibulkova. With an overflow crowd at a cozy side court roaring, she broke Cibulkova’s serve to clinch the match.
“I never thought I’d come out like this,” she said in an on-court interview.
Anna Kournikova was also 15 when she won at the U.S. Open in 1996.
Bellis’ title at the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship earned her a wild card into her first tour-level main draw. The Californian was the youngest champion of that event since Lindsay Davenport also won it at 15 in 1991.
When Tuesday’s match was over, Bellis ran across the court to hug members of her cheering section. She’s the youngest American to win at the U.S. Open since a 15-year-old Mary Joe Fernandez in 1986.
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