TEMPLETON, Calif. (Sept. 27, 2017) – Local wild card and Gonzaga University junior Sophie Whittle surprised herself – and all her family and friends on hand supporting her – in capturing her first WTA point in her first USTA Pro Circuit tournament with a shocking 6-2, 6-3 upset over No. 3 seeded Francoise Abanda of Canada on Wednesday at the first annual Central Coast Pro Tennis Open, a $60,000 women’s event taking place at the Templeton Tennis Ranch.
When asked what she had just pulled off, Whittle, from the most southern end of San Luis Obispo County 45 miles south of Templeton in Nipomo (population 16,714), had this to say: “I have no idea what I just did, I’m just shaking. 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.”
Rooted on by her family and even the Arroyo Grande High girls’ tennis team, Whittle provided the upset of the first annual event. “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 good night’s sleep.”
Like Whittle, American Taylor Townsend took advantage of her USTA wild card and advanced to the second round with a 6-1, 6-0 win over qualifier Anna Tatishvili, 6-1, 6-0, in just 54 minutes. Seeded No. 5 here because of her WTA ranking of No. 129 entering the tournament, the 21-year-old from Atlanta Townsend said she was relaxed and focused in her first-round match.
“The facility is great and the court surface is fast and really suits my game,” said Townsend, who is coached by Donald Young Sr. “I just played solid tennis today.”
Townsend said she has never been to the Central Coast and the new facility located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. She holds three USTA Pro Circuit singles titles and 12 USTA Pro Circuit/ITF Pro Circuit doubles titles, including eight doubles titles in 2016—the most of any player since 1987.
Maria Sanchez was one of seven Americans who played college tennis who competed in the main draw on Wednesday. The former USC All-American needed three sets to come back to beat Katie Boulter of Great Britain, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Sanchez was one of five former USC players competing on Wednesday as Danielle Lao and qualifier Sabrina Santamaria lost singles matches, and former Trojans Kaitlyn Christian and Giuliana Olmos, the No. 4 seeds, downed Townsend and Ashley Kratzer, 6-3, 6-2, in doubles.
Admission to watch the exciting pro tennis is free during the week’s early rounds. On Friday night, Saturday and Sunday for the semifinals and finals, tickets are just $10, or fans can purchase a three-day pass for $25. Children 12 and under are free.
Wednesday’s First-Round Main Draw Singles Results
Naomi Broady, Great Britain (6), def. Sesil Karatantcheva, Bulgaria, 6-0, 6-1
Maria Sanchez, U.S., def. Katie Boulter, Great Britain, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2
Quinn Gleason, U.S. (wc), def. Emina Bektas, U.S., 6-2, 7-6 (5)
Louisa Chirico, U.S., def. Ulrikke Eikeri, Norway, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
Viktorija Golubic, Switzerland (1), def. Ashley Kratzer, U.S., 7-6 (6), 6-4
Sachia Vickery, U.S. (4), def. Amra Sadikovic, Switzerland, 6-3, 6-3
Mari Osaka, Japan, def. Danielle Lao, U.S., 6-3, 6-4
Taylor Townsend, U.S. (wc) def. Anna Tatishvili, U.S. (q), 6-1, 6-0
Alisa Kleybanova, Russia (q), def. Sonya Kenin. U.S. (2), 6-4, 5-7, 5-0, retired
Sophie Whittle, U.S. (wc), def. Francoise Abanda, Canada (3), 6-2, 6-3
Jamie Loeb, U.S. (8), def. Robin Anderson, U.S. (wc), 7-5, 6-4
Elena Bovina, Russia, def. Anatasia Potapova, Russia, 6-1, 6-2
Elitsa Kostova, Bulgaria, def. Sabrina Santamaria, U.S. (q), 6-1, 6-3
Wednesday’s First-Round Main Draw Doubles Results
Ulrikke Eikeri, Norway-Camilla Rosatello, Italy, def. Sonya Kenin, U.S.-Maria Sanchez, U.S., walkover
Kaitlyn Christian, U.S.-Giuliana Olmos, U.S. (4), def. Taylor Townsend, U.S.-Ashley Kratzer, U.S., 6-3, 6-2
About the USTA Pro Circuit
With approximately 100 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its Pro Circuit 38 years ago to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering nearly $3.5 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. John Isner, Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Sam Querrey, Sloane Stephens, Kei Nishikori, Victoria Azarenka and Andy Murray are among today’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.
About Templeton Tennis Ranch
Set amid a tranquil wooded property, Templeton Tennis Ranch’s stunning clubhouse, versatile fitness center, infrared sauna and state-of-the-art tennis(6) and pickleball(4) courts are renowned in San Luis Obispo County. Come see why visitors and locals alike enjoy the Central Coast’s beautiful wooded family fitness hub, Ohana Hale Café, wellness and event centers. Templeton Tennis Ranch is located at 345 Championship Lane in Templeton off the Main Street Exit on the west side of Highway 101. For more information, call (805) 434-9605, or visit www.ttrtennis.com.
Tournament Press Contact: Steve Pratt, 310.408.4555, [email protected]