Catherine Bellis wins first WTA title at Hawaii Open

catherine-bellis-2016-us-open

American Catherine Bellis won her third straight title and her first on the WTA circuit by defeating top seed Zhang Shuai in the Hawaii Open final.

The 17-year-old Bellis' 6-4 6-2 victory over the world No.23 Zhang in the final of the inaugural 125K tournament is her 15 match win in a row, following ITF title runs in Saguenay and Toronto. All Bellis' wins this week in Honolulu came in straight sets, while her last loss was way back on September 16th in Quebec.

CiCi has been a pro player for just two and a half months and she already has a WTA title in her bio, which she won without dropping a set. The outstanding results are reflected in the youngster's ranking, as she'll finish the 2016 season at No. 75 as the only player under 18 in the Top 100. (photo: Jimmie48)

11 thoughts on “Catherine Bellis wins first WTA title at Hawaii Open

  1. Gregoire Gentil

    You cannot exclude the probability she could reach top 10 by end of 2017… At least top 20. Good for WTA and women's tennis.

  2. Jim

    Can CiCi win a major in her teens like Chrissie Evert, Seles, Graf and Serena, and Masha? You just don't see anyone under 23 win majors in men's or women's tennis anymore..certainly not teens. The LPGA has had a rash of young winners this year..even in majors as Lydia Ko won at 19, Canadian golfer Brooke Henderson at 18, Thai golfer Ariya Jutanagarn at 20, and Korean rookie of the year In Gee Chun won after turning 22.

  3. Marija Post author

    Gregoire, definitely! She's so successful for her age and she'll probably make it big fast!

    Jim, I was also thinking about that, how now we have many late bloomers, but there are no Grand Slam champions that are very young, which was common in the old days.

  4. Gregoire Gentil

    @Jim, for men's, below 23, it's a long shot indeed, especially because the men's game has so much power. Thiem is a good example and he is getting closer but he is "already" 23. For women's, Kerber, Wozniacki, Radwanska are not "powerful" players. I believe the door is more open to see a "young" woman player winning a slam.

  5. Jim

    Marija, @Gregoire,The last under 23 woman to win a slam was Petra Kvitova (21) at the 2011 Wimbledon. The last teenage woman to win a slam was Svetlana Kuznetsova (19) at the 2004 US Open. Delpo was 20 when he won the US Open in 2009. The last teenage man to win a slam was Rafa near his 19th birthday at the 2005 French Open. I was thinking maybe Ka. Pliskova could win one but she will be 25 next year. Maybe Madison Keys at 21 or 22? On the men's side possibly German Sascha Zverev? He is just 19 now.

  6. Marija Post author

    Jim, since this post is about very young CiCi, I was referring to players aged 20 and younger. Look, between 1987 and 1990, Steffi Graf won the French Open (17), A. Sanchez Vicario won the French Open (17), Monica Seles won the French Open (16) and Gabriela Sabatini won the US Open (20). In the more recent period, Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon 2004 at the age of 17, and as you mentioned Kuznetsova. Maybe CiCi will be the one!

  7. Gregoire Gentil

    @Jim, you forgot Muguruza who was 22 at Roland-Garros this year. I think Bellis will win a slam before Keys (there is a reason why Davenport walked away), before Zverev (too much power/competition on men's), but after Pliskova (who is outside of the discussed range). Taking into account how bad I'm with brackets, we can be sure my predictions won't realize!

  8. Johnnyb

    Congratulations to Ci Ci, but she is not the best or best youngest American player. That honor goes to Kayla Day. Day has wins against top players, won the US Open girls championship and most importantly beat Ci Ci easily in their head to head match during 2016 in Naples,Florida.

  9. Sunny

    Maria was the last teenager on women's tour to win a major at US Open 2006(i know it wasn't her first), 2 years after Sveta. and also Caro was the last teen to reach a major finals in US open 2009.

  10. Jim

    Stand corrected Sunny, I had it so etched in my mind that the 17 year old Masha won the 2004 Wimbledon, then Sveta won that year's US Open at 19. Completely forgot it was 2006 when Maria won the US Open at 19.

  11. Karen helf

    Cici has great promise. Let's keep in mind that the events she won recently do not draw top ranked players. In Hawaii, she was one of the top seeds. She will likely face top 25 players from the start in 2017 in the early rounds. The current top-25 player list is formidable with solid veterans Angie, Serena to rising stars like Keys, Konta, Pliskova amoung others. To progress to finals in 2017 she will need to push through that group consistently. This will press her mentally and physically beyond her current experiences.

    Right now Cici is in a position to be part of the Aussie main draw which is exciting but may not be the case for all slams. Outside of the slams, she will likely still need to quality for the main draw. Qualifying is never an easy road. That said, it is great to see her sucess and her drive to win. She has the personality of a fighter which cannot be really be taught. Looking forward to following her 1st year on tour and seeing how she grows and progresses. Let's not apply pressure with predications. Instead enjoy the ride.

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