Captures Riviera ITA All-American
USTA Southern California | October 7, 2018
This story was originally posted on the ITA website.
Gonzaga senior Sophie Whittle completed her improbable run from qualifier to champion, capturing the singles title at the 2018 Riviera ITA Women’s All-American Championships in a nearly three-hour marathon against Duke freshman Maria Mateas on Sunday, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California.
The victory for the recently turned 21-year-old Whittle from the Central Coast of California was her eighth consecutive win in six days as she became the second consecutive qualifier to win the ITA Women’s All-American singles title.
Gonzaga head women’s tennis coach D.J. Gurule called Whittle’s “Cinderella story” win an “amazing feat” and the greatest moment in the program’s tennis history for the small Roman Catholic school in Spokane, Wash., known as a national men’s basketball powerhouse from the West Coast Conference.
The drama-filled singles final was in jeopardy of being completed when up a set but down 2-3, 15-40 on Mateas’ serve, Whittle stepped wrong on the baseline at the end of a Mateas point and went down to the ground holding her left ankle.
“I was running for a ball and I rolled it and felt it hit the ground,” Whittle said. “I didn’t want to stop. This was not the match to pull out of. I wanted to win so bad. Whenever I get hurt they have to force me to not play.”