HOUSTON, TX, USA - Playing her first tournament in 20 months, American CiCi Bellis returned victorious at the Oracle Challenger Series event in Houston on Monday, while elsewhere, former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard scored her first singles win in nine months.
The former World No.35 and 2017 WTA Newcomer of the Year, Bellis has been candid over the past two years about her struggled with wrist and arm injuries, which included a total of four surgeries.
Returning in Houston's qualifying draw with a wildcard, Bellis beat 30-year-old Alex Glatch, oft-injured over the course of her own career, on Sunday to reach the main draw, and followed that up with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Aussie Ellen Perez on Monday.
The victory is Bellis' first since last March, as she last competed at the 2018 Miami Open, and she advances to face No.16 seed, and another American, in Varvara Lepchenko.
Also advancing on Monday on the campus of Rice University was another American on the comeback trail in former Top 10 star CoCo Vandeweghe.
The two-time Grand Slam semifinalist, now ranked World No.328 as she makes her way back from a foot injury, is a wildcard this week in Houston and downed Aussie Linda Huang, who received a wildcard as a star on the women's tennis team at Rice, 6-4, 6-1.
Later in the day, Bouchard snapped a 13-match losing streak in singles, dating back to to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, with a 7-6(4), 6-4 win over Greece's Valentini Grammatikopoulou.
The Canadian, now ranked World No.220, trailed by a break in the opening set before rallying for the comeback against the World No.284, who broke Bouchard as she served for the match and saved two match points before falling.
Other early winners on Monday included American teenager Hailey Baptiste, who beat Bulgarian Elitsa Kostova, 6-2, 6-4; her compatriot Hanna Chang, 21, who beat Brazil's Gabriela Ce, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; and France's Jessika Ponchet, who won the longest match of the day to beat Sophie Chang, 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(3), in a shade under three hours.
Three matches were suspended due to inclement weather in the area and will be resumed on Tuesday, including wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands' first round clash against compatriot Danielle Lao.