15-year-old CiCi Bellis had a stunning victory on Tuesday, to become the youngest player to win a U.S Open match in 28 years. An absolutely incredible feat considering her age, the youngster celebrated as her father did his best to hide his emotions court-side.
As many teens do, CiCi has strict rules for her Dad in public: “I’m told I cannot sigh and I cannot move or say anything (because) that distracts her, so I just have to sit there like a Sphinx and just smile and pray,” her father Gordon Bellis, explained. “She hears me when I sigh. So I can’t sigh.”
Mom, Lori Bellis decided it was best for her to stay in the hotel, as she gets too nervous watching her daughter play in person, receiving live updates on CiCi via text from her husband.
CiCi’s victory was the first time since Anna Kournikova was 15 in 1996 had someone won a U.S Open match being so young.
CiCi’s 25-year old opponent, Dominika Cibulkova had this to say about the victor: “I didn’t expect her to play so aggressive today. I thought she’s kind of a player who’s just putting the ball back and running around,” Cibulkova said. “That didn’t happen today. She was really aggressive on the court and that maybe surprised me in the first set.”
Next up for Bellis is a second-round match against 48th-ranked Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan. Mother Lori might attend that game, no telling what rules CiCi will have in place for her parents this matchup.