Nipomo native wins first round in pro-tennis tournament

Photo by Steve Pratt

Sophie Whittle, a Nipomo native, surprised herself and others in winning her first round at the Central Coast Pro Tennis Tournament on Wednesday. Whittle pulled off a shocking 6-2, 6-3 upset over third seeded Francoise Abanda of Canada.

“I have no idea what I just did, I’m just shaking,” Whittle said. “I think I played the best I’ve ever played, or at least the smartest I’ve ever played. After I let the nerves go away after the first couple of games, I felt a little bit better and I just told myself I could do it.”

Cheered on by her family and the Arroyo Grande High girls’ tennis team, Whittle provided the upset of the first annual event. Whittle, an Arroyo Grande High School graduate, is currently attending Gonzaga University.

“I felt like I went in pretty well prepared and I think she thought she would roll over me because I don’t have any (ranking) points,” Whittle said. “But I just knew I could beat anyone.”

Whittle will face Great Britain’s Laura Robson in the second round on Thursday night at 6 p.m.

“I hope tomorrow I can play just as well and have the same mindset,” Whittle said. “I’m going to rest and I get to go home, which is nice. I can get a good meal and a good night’s sleep.”

Admission to watch the Women’s Tennis Association tournament at the Templeton Tennis Ranch is free during the week’s early rounds. On Friday night, Saturday and Sunday for the semifinals and finals, tickets are $10, or fans can purchase a three-day pass for $25. Admission for children 12 and under is free.