Sophie’s choice to take on older opponents

WARRNAMBOOL teenager Sophie Drake is setting her sights on older opponents after claiming her first tennis tournament in two years.

After good performances at Tennis Ballarat championships, Ben Warren, 15 (left), Sophie Drake, 16, and Ben Wilde, 15, are primed for their next competitive challenges. 140703VH61 Picture: VICKY HUGHSON

After good performances at Tennis Ballarat championships, Ben Warren, 15 (left), Sophie Drake, 16, and Ben Wilde, 15, are primed for their next competitive challenges. 140703VH61 Picture: VICKY HUGHSON

The 16-year-old lost just three games in her straight sets victory over Mildura’s number two seed Andrea Mastrippolito in the Tennis Ballarat championship on Wednesday.

Sophie, the number one seed, picked up the 16 and under singles title with a 6-2, 6-1 victory. She won the 14 and under title at the event in 2012.

“I wanted to try and win because I haven’t won a tournament for a while,” she said.

The South West Academy of Sport athlete relaxed yesterday before starting preparations for Sunday’s Australian Money Tournament at Warrnambool Indoor Tennis Centre.

She is unseeded for the home event, opting to play in the open section against adults instead of juniors.

“It will be good playing matches against older players,” Sophie said.

The Warrnambool College year 10 student is 383 in Australia’s women’s rankings and hopes her win will improve her standing.

She is working hard at school, as well as on the court, in a bid to pursue a college scholarship in America.

“There will be tournaments every holidays,” Sophie said.

Her win in the singles event capped a memorable few days. Sophie teamed with her singles opponent Andrea to win the doubles event.

She will reunite with regular doubles partner, Melbourne’s Justine Hocking, in the Warrnambool event.

Sophie was one of eight south-west players to produce strong results at the Ballarat event.

Warrnambool’s Ben Wilde was runner-up in the 16 and under final. 

The number two seed was defeated by Trent Patel in a tight three-set final. 

Trent won the first set 6-1 before Ben hit back to take the second 6-4. Trent won the third 6-3.

Ben had some joy, teaming with Warrnambool’s Ben Warren to win the 16 and under doubles final against Trent and Daniel Petreski 6-3, 6-2.

Hawkesdale’s Eloise Swarbrick won the 12 and under girls’ consolation final and teamed with Warrnambool’s Danielle Warren to finish runner-up in the doubles final.

Hamilton’s Willow Sainsbury was runner-up in the 14 and under girls’ singles consolation final.

Harry Boyd and Jessica Swarbrick both made it to semi-finals in their 14 and under singles sections.

Five of the teenagers will be in action at Warrnambool’s winter junior championships, which start next Monday and run to Thursday. 

The open event runs from Sunday to Tuesday.

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