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Cici Bellis: Teen sensation shines at U.S. Open

By Tom McGowan, CNN
updated 9:44 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
American teenager Cici Bellis is inelligible for prize money at the U.S. Open as she is still an amateur.
American teenager Cici Bellis is inelligible for prize money at the U.S. Open as she is still an amateur.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 15-year-old Catherine "Cici" Bellis win her first ever grand slam match
  • Bellis defeats 12th seed Dominica Cibulkova in the U.S. Open first round
  • The junior world No. 2 was given a wildcard after winning the U.S. national championships
  • Bellis plays Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas in the second round

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(CNN) -- After shocking the tennis world at the U.S. Open, teen sensation Catherine "Cici" Bellis has set her sights on Ellen DeGeneres' couch.

The 15-year-old stunned 12th seed Dominica Cibulkova with a 6-1 4-6 6-4 triumph in her first grand slam match, becoming the youngest winner of a U.S. Open tie since Anna Kournikova in 1996.

As is the custom for breakout U.S. sport stars, a talk show appearance is likely to be never far away -- and Bellis knows which host she wants to be sat opposite.

"I love Ellen," Bellis, ranked 1,208th in the world, told reporters. "I think I would want to go on Ellen."

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The youngest player to feature at a grand slam for nine years, Bellis had never previously played a WTA Tour match.

But the junior world No. 2 was given a wildcard at Flushing Meadows after winning the U.S. national championships earlier this month.

The San Francisco-born Bellis shone on the big stage, brushing Australian Open finalist Cibulkova aside in the opening set before battling back from a break down to clinch the decider.

Bellis was backed by a partisan crowd on Court Six, including some friends who helped roar her to a famous victory.

Next up for Bellis is a second round contest with Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas.

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"I went into the match thinking it was going to be such a great experience, but I never thought I would come out on top winning," explained Bellis, who is home schooled so she can focus on her tennis.

"I had like four friends that started some of the chants. I was like, 'Oh, my God.' I loved it. It made me play even better."

A first round win at this year's U.S. Open comes with a check for $60,000, not that Bellis will be able to cash in.

Her status as an amateur means she is unable to claim winnings, but Bellis is in no rush to turn pro.

"I think I'm definitely going to stay an amateur right now to keep my options open for college, in case an injury or something happens," she said. "But I'd love to be a pro one day."

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