Miami Open: Serena beats 15-Year-old, Nadal Knocked Out
All the latest third round results from the Miami Open
When the ball whizzed past Serena Williams for an ace late in Sunday’s match, the subdued crowd suddenly erupted with a roar.
Williams said she was tempted to join the applause. Everyone wanted to see her underage, underdog opponent do better.
Fifteen-year-old Californian CiCi Bellis lasted only 41 minutes against Williams, losing 6-1, 6-1 in the third round at the Miami Open.
“It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, I’m so happy to win this match,’” said Williams, 33. “It was tough. She’s young and her being an American, you want to see people like her do well.”
Bellis managed to smile afterward despite the drubbing. “I was pretty nervous,” she said. “I didn’t know how my game would hold up against her, because I have never played her before. Never really seen her in person, just on TV.
While Williams moved a step closer to her eighth Key Biscayne title, Rafael Nadal again came up short. He was eliminated by fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
Nadal, who was seeded second, has never won the tournament in 11 appearances. It’s the only event he hasn’t won in so many tries.
Nadal beat Verdasco the first 13 times they played but has now lost to him twice in a row. Nadal dealt with several health issues in 2014 and said that while he’s fully recovered, he hasn’t regained his confidence.
“It’s a question of being relaxed enough to play well,” the 14-time Grand Slam champion said. “I’m still playing with too much nerves for a lot of moments, in important moments, still playing a little bit anxious in those moments.
“But I’m going to fix it — I don’t know if in one week, in six months, or in one year, but I’m going to do it.”
The Key Biscayne draw was already without Roger Federer, who skipped the tournament. Four-time champion Novak Djokovic and two-time champion Andy Murray are now heavy favorites to make the final.
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