By Larry Fine
Angelique Kerber, enjoying a breakout season that has her challenging for world number one, crushed 17-year-old American qualifier CiCi Bellis 6-1 6-1 to reach the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Friday.
Bellis, the second youngest player in the women’s field, won three qualifying matches and beat two players within the top 65 in the main draw but her dream run ended in a flood of Kerber winners and a rash of errors from the over-hitting teenager.
The second-seeded German took 55 minutes to close out the Day Five program at Flushing Meadows, nearly doubling the 33 points won by Bellis as she notched her WTA Tour-leading 50th match win of the season.
“Congrats to CiCi. She played a great tournament and for sure she will have a great future,” the gracious Kerber said in an on-court interview at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Bellis was far from dejected after the one-sided defeat that came after victories over Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland and fellow-American Shelby Rogers.
“I think today was the best experience I’ve ever had in tennis, playing her today on Arthur Ashe Stadium,” the Californian said. “She’s one of the best, I mean the best player right now on the tour besides Serena.
“Her groundstrokes are perfect. I hope to one day be able to play like her.”
Next up for Kerber is Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, a 6-3 6-4 winner over 22nd seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine. Kerber and Kvitova have split their eight career meetings.
Results from the U.S. Open Women’s Singles Round 3 matches on Friday
2-Angelique Kerber (Germany) beat Catherine Bellis (U.S.) 6-1 6-1
14-Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) beat 22-Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) 6-3 6-4
8-Madison Keys (U.S.) beat Naomi Osaka (Japan) 7-5 4-6 7-6(3)
13-Johanna Konta (Britain) beat 24-Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) 6-2 6-1
Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine) beat 12-Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia) 3-6 6-3 6-4
7-Roberta Vinci (Italy) beat Carina Witthoeft (Germany) 6-0 5-7 6-3
Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) beat Monica Niculescu (Romania) 6-3 6-1
Anastasija Sevastova (Latvia) beat Kateryna Bondarenko (Ukraine) 6-4 6-1