Her Cinderella run ended in the second round of the Central Coast Pro Tennis Open on Thursday at the Templeton Tennis Ranch, but it’s a run that Arroyo Grande High School graduate and Gonzaga junior Sophie Whittle will never forget.
“It was a really cool experience,” Whittle said Thursday after her 7-6 (7-1), 6-0 loss to Laura Robson. “It kind of tells me where I’m at.”
Whittle entered as an unranked wild card and shocked No. 3-seeded Francoise Abanda on Wednesday, 6-2, 6-3, in her first professional tournament.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for the opportunity for giving me a wild card,” Whittle said. “It was a really cool feeling winning. I am just frustrated because I felt like I didn’t play my best (against Robson). I still was close in the first set at least. It just gives me something to work towards.”
Whittle was emotional after the loss, but she was quickly consoled by family members and friends who were there to cheer her on.
“It was really nice that everyone came,” she said. “It was kind of weird being in front of everyone; I am not used to that. But it was fun.”
Robson, a 23-year-old lefty from Great Britain, who has reached the fourth round in both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, was able to take advantage of second-serve opportunities throughout the match and pulled away in the second set.
“I definitely need to get my first-serve percentage higher, and on my returns I need to be able to recognize where I should be going,” Whittle said. “But overall for my first time, it was pretty good.”
Whittle took a flight to Los Angeles on Friday morning and put her Gonzaga colors back on to play in the ITA Women’s All-American, one of college tennis’ four Grand Slams.
The USTA Pro Circut event in Templeton continues through the weekend with the semifinals being held on Saturday and finals Sunday.
Central Coast Pro Tennis Open
Where: Templeton Tennis Ranch
Saturday: Noon, singles semifinals
Sunday: 1 p.m., doubles final; 3 p.m., singles final