DUBAI – American teen Catherine “CiCi” Bellis captured her first career Top 10 win on Wednesday when she upset sixth-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in the third round at the Dubai Tennis Championships.
“It’s definitely, obviously, the biggest win of my career, and probably one of the best days of my life,” Bellis said.
The 17-year-old Bellis, ranked 70th, had lost her previous four matches against top 10 opponents.
Bellis is one of two teenagers in the quarterfinals with 19-year-old Ana Konjuh of Croatia beating eighth-seeded Elena Vesnina of Russia 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4).
Bellis led 2-0 in the third set before fourth-seeded Radwanska rebounded to 2-2. The Pole faded afterward with Bellis clinching 16 of the last 22 points.
“I think in the second set she started playing a little bit better,” Bellis said. “I went off a little bit. I think I was going for a little bit too much.”
Bellis plays 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the quarterfinals.
Wozniacki lost the opening set but went on to beat Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
“She’s a great young player and has a lot of confidence,” Wozniacki said of Bellis. “Right now I’m just going to enjoy this victory and then get ready for tomorrow.”
Earlier, Angelique Kerber reached the tournament’s quarterfinals for the first time by beating Olympic champion Monica Puig 6-2, 6-3.
The top-seeded German is 3-1 against Puig, but the last time they played the Puerto Rican beat Kerber for the gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
“It’s always tough to play against Monica, especially after our last match,” Kerber said. “I was really not thinking too much about our final in Rio, because it was a completely totally different match than today.”
Kerber, who started the season as the No. 1-ranked player before Serena Williams won the Australian Open to reclaim the top spot, will return to the highest ranking if she wins the Dubai title this week.
Kerber saved all five break points she faced against Puig, including in the final game of the first set when she trailed 0-40. In her final service game of the second set, she recovered from 15-40 to go ahead 5-3.
“I was feeling good from the first point,” Kerber said. “I’m really happy about how I played today.”
Kerber next plays Konjuh.
Also, seventh-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine defeated Christina McHale of the United States 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
“Didn’t do my best,” Svitolina said, “but then I’m really happy that I won today.”
Svitolina will next face unseeded Lauren Davis of the United States, who beat Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.