American teenager CiCi Bellis notched the biggest win of her young and promising career on Wednesday, defeating fourth-seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to reach the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships quarterfinals.
Bellis was playing in her first main draw of 2017 after sitting out some early season tournaments with a hip injury but hasn’t missed a beat with her start in Dubai. She secured the only break of the opening set, and despite Radwanska responding strongly in the second set, Bellis kept her nerve to break for a 3-2 lead in the third set.
She would bolster that lead to 5-2 after another break, and converted on her first match point to clinch the biggest win of her career.
“It’s one of the best feelings in my life, for sure. I’m really happy about the outcome tonight. I work so hard for it and I think my work is paying off,” said Bellis. “I’m definitely playing some of my best tennis right now.”
Bellis is projected to jump into the Top 60 of the rankings with the victory, and could move into the top 50 if she reaches the semifinals. Standing in her way of the semifinals is Caroline Wozniacki, who continued her excellent start to the year with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 comeback win over Kateryna Bondarenko.
Joining Bellis in the quarterfinals is fellow American Lauren Davis who ousted Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. Davis will play seventh-seed Elina Svitolina who came back from a set down as well, beating American Christina McHale 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Top-seed Angelique Kerber cruised past Monica Puig 6-2, 6-3 to set up a matchup with Ana Konjuh of Croatia. Konjuh upended eighth-seed Elena Vesnina 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) in her third round match.
The other quarterfinal in Dubai will see Qiang Wang of China take on Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova.