NEW YORK (AP) – American teen CiCi Bellis became the youngest player to win a U.S. Open match since 1996, almost three years before she was born, when she stunned Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova.
The 15-year-old Bellis rallied from down a break in the third set for a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 first-round victory Tuesday over the 12th-seeded Cibulkova.
With an overflow crowd at a cozy side court roaring, she broke Cibulkova’s serve to clinch the match.
Bellis won the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship to earn a wild card into her first tour-level main draw.
The Californian was the youngest champion of that event since Lindsay Davenport also won it at 15 in 1991. Anna Kournikova won as a 15-year-old at the U.S. Open in 1996.
When Tuesday’s match was over, Bellis ran across the court to hug members of her cheering section.