Sports


Bellis, Vandeweghe earn spots in semifinals of Bank of West

 
Catherine "CiCi" Bellis is fired up during her match with two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova. Photo by Harjanto Sumali.

It's a semifinal made for tennis lovers. The hometown heroine plays against a Southern California rival with a chance to play for a title.

Atherton resident CiCi Bellis did her part by beating former world No. 2 and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, 6-2, 6-0, in the quarterfinals of the Bank of the West Classic on Friday night.

CoCo Vandeweghe moved into the semifinals of the Bank of the West Classic with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over fourth-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenjova.

Top-seeded and world No. 4 Garbine Muguzura sailed into the semifinals after beating Croatia's Ana Konjuh 6-1, 6-3. She'll play the third-seeded Madison Keys, who beat the seventh-seeded Lesia Tsurenko, 6-4, 6-3.

For the first time in 13 years, all eight seeds advanced into Thursday's quarterfinals. Vandeweghe became the first to beat a higher seeded player. Bellis was the second.

“This is definitely one of the biggest wins of my career,” Bellis said. “I’m just really happy with how I played, and really excited I was able to get through it."

Kvitova has missed six months of tennis because of surgery on her left hand but told media earlier in the week she feels healthy and just needs to play.

“I don’t think Kvitova played her best tennis," Bellis said. "On my side I feel I played a real, unbelievable match."

Behind the support of a large crowd, Bellis played aggressively and took it to Kvitova from the first game of the first set. Kvitova recorded 26 unforced errors to Bellis' nine.

Vandeweghe, currently ranked 24th, has picked her level of play recently. The 25-year-old reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, knocking off fifth-ranked Caroline Wozniacki along the way.

Vandeweghe reached her third consecutive quarterfinal of the year and fourth overall. She'll be playing her second semifinal of the year and the first since losing to Venus Williams in the Australian Open.

She reached a career-high ranking of No. 19 in May and played Madrid and the French Open as a top-20 player. Vandeweghe is looking for her first WTA Tour victory since last year at 'S-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands.

Muguzura continues a successful season. She entered the Bank of the West Classic with 300 career victories and as the reigning Wimbledon champion.

She's won 17 of her past 21 matches, including a win over Vandeweghe in Birmingham, when the latter retired during the quarterfinals.

Keys is looking for her first WTA victory since winning at Birmingham last year, which vaulted her into a No. 9 ranking. Keys became the first American woman to break into the top 10 in 18 years (Serena Williams in 1999).

A left wrist injury slowed her down at the beginning of the year but she's not even thinking about these days.

The 18th-ranked Pavlyuchenjova has struggled since winning two consecutive tournament titles in Monterrey, Mexico, beating then No. 1 Angelique Gerber in the final, and Rabat, Morocco.

Since winning 10 straight, Pavlyuchenjova is 6-7 on the tour. She lost to qualifier Arina Rodionova in the first round at Wimbledon.

The 20th-ranked Konjuh has appeared in one final, two semifinal and three quarterfinals this year. She reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open last September.

Konjuh's lone WTA tournament victory came at Nottingham in 2015. She was ranked 87th at the time and beat four top-100 players en route to the title, including Alison Riske in the semifinals.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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