In 2014 she made headlines at 15-years-old by defeating Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the US Open. Catherine ‘Cici’ Bellis was ranked 1,208 in the WTA rankings at the time and was playing in her first Grand Slam. She stunned fans with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 win over the 12th seed. She was the youngest winner at the Major since 1996, three years before Bellis was born!
Bellis was so young during her US Open triumph that she wasn’t even able to claim her winnings! She held the status of an amateur and entered the match for experience, not thinking she would come out on top. Bellis remained an amateur to keep her options open for college, but she has since turned professional.
In 2016 Bellis made her debut in the WTA Top 100 and finished the season as the world no. 90. Two of her four title runs that year came in Canada – Saguenay and Toronto.
Now at 18-years-old, Bellis currently sits at a career-high of no. 42. She is the youngest player in the Top 70 and is one of two teenagers in the Top 100.
Bellis has won at least one title per year on the ITF Circuit dating back to 2014. Each of her seven titles has come on hard courts.
With an aggressive game and high spirits, Bellis is a threat to be cautious of in the coming years, and even the coming months. Her previous success on hard courts, especially Canadian hard courts, combined with her heightening confidence may make her a serious contender in this year’s US Open Series.
The last woman to win Rogers Cup in Toronto was also a teenager – Belinda Bencic, who was also 18-years-old at the time of her victory. Will Bellis have a similar fate this summer?