Sports

Bellis goes pro, reaches quarterfinals at Quebec City

 

Atherton's Cici Bellis announced on Twitter this week that she is foregoing a Stanford scholarship and is turning pro.

The 17-year-old sensation reached the third round of the US Open, after winning three matches to qualify for the main draw, earlier this month and would have earned $140,000 for her effort. She also reached the quarterfinals of the Bank of the West in July.

"I'm excited to announce that I have turned pro, and signed with @IMG Thank you to everyone for all your continued support! Let's go," Bellis wrote from her Twitter account.

Bellis entered the national conscious at US Open two years ago, when she became the youngest woman to win a match in 18 years after knocking off Dominika Cibulkova. She's also played Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber.

Bellis, who after the US Open is ranked a career-high No. 120 in the WTA rankings, committed to play for Stanford during the Bank of the West, though she never actually signed a national letter of intent.

Bellis’ season has been solid, as she has improved her forehand and serve and is a much more mature player than she was in 2014, when she upset Cibulkova. This season has seen Bellis win a small tournament in Sumter, S.C., and reach the finals of another in Surprise, Ariz.

Bellis reached the quarterfinals of the Coupe Nanque Nationale in Quebec City before losing to American Julia Boserup, 7-6 (0), 6-4, on Friday. She earned a $6,175 paycheck in her first professional tournament.

There were no seeded players left in Quebec City after the second round, throwing it wide open. Bellis beat two qualifiers, France's Amandine Hesse, 6-3, 6-2, and USA's Danielle Lao, 6-4, 6-2, to reach the quarters.

Lao knocked off third-seeded Mirjana Lucic-Baroni before meeting Bellis. Boserup upended seventh-seeded Russian Evgeniya Rodina before playing Bellis.

The decision to turn pro comes as no surprise as she continued to reach new heights through the summer. It was apparent that even if she did play at Stanford, it would likely have been for a year.

"I think I can still go to college afterward," Bellis told WTA Insider. "It wasn't a big deal for me giving it up now because I can always go later. Also I love tennis so much. I want to be doing it for a really long time and I think my game and my body is ready for it now."

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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