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Charleston's Sophie Williams happy with first pro main-draw tennis appearance
McLeod for Health Florence Open

Charleston's Sophie Williams happy with first pro main-draw tennis appearance

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McLeod for Health Florence Open

Sweat leaps from her forearm as Sophie Williams, of Charleston powers through a backhand return during the McLeod for Health Florence Open tennis event at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center on Wednesday in Florence.

FLORENCE, S.C. – Charleston’s Sophie Williams felt at home – at least, the closest to home the 17-year-old had played in a long time. Her progress at this week’s McLeod for Health Florence Open is proof of that.

At the Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center, Williams reached the main draw of a pro tournament for the first time, winning two qualifying matches earlier this week. The latter was a stirring rally after trailing 2-6, 0-5. Williams won the next seven games to close out the second set, and then win 10-4 in the third-set tie-breaker over Australia’s Olivia Tjandramulia.

“That was a pretty good match for me,” Williams said. “I felt good about how I played. I played smart.”

In Williams’ first pro main-draw event Wednesday, China’s Jia-Jing Lu proved too much with a 6-1, 6-2 victory.

“She beat me,” Williams said. “I didn’t do anything wrong; I played well. She’s 31 years old, older and more experienced. There just a few things I could have done better. I played the right way; I could have just done them better.”

Williams, who experienced winning a SCISA state title at Porter-Gaud, is now home-schooled and a senior. Driving back and forth from her home each day this week, she is taking only positives from Florence.

“I played here two years ago, but I lost in the second round of qualifiers,” said Williams, a University of Florida tennis commit. “Today, I fought from the beginning to the end and gave it all I had.”

Williams is already trying to put herself in position once she enrolls in college in Gainesville, Fla., to also play in pro events in the fall.

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“I’m trying to get as many points as I can,” she said. “The goal is to keep growing, and see how many big events I can play in and keep growing. After a few years, maybe if I do well, I can go pro.”

Florence was a short drive. But in July, Williams traveled to play in a tournament in Tunisia.

“Now that was an experience,” Williams said, laughing. “But I think my game has changed a lot in two months. I train in Naples, Fla., half the time. But my dad has ALS, so I want to be home. So this has been way better for my tennis, so it has worked out.”

The proximity of Williams’ tournament also helped her experience a family affair.

“I love playing so close to home because I can still go home,” Williams said. “My mom works full-time, but she was able to come here Monday to watch me. And she had not had a chance to watch me play in a tournament in so long. And to have my coach here to watch me is great because it’s tough for him to travel.”




Xiyu Wang def. Anastasia Sysoeva 6-2, 6-0; Whitney Osuigwe def. Moyuka Uchijima 6-3, 7-6; Amy Zhu def. Paula Ormaechea 6-4, 5-7, 1-3 (RET.); Tessah Andrianjafitrimo def. Yuriko LilyMiyazaki 6-2, 6-3; Mirjam Bjorklund def. Alexa Graham 6-4, 6-2; Alana Smith def. Emily Appleton 7-5, 4-6, 6-3; Gabriela Lee def. Danielle Lao 7-6, 6-4; Francoise Abanda def. Alycia Parks 6-2, 7-6; Maria Mateas def. Sophie Chang 6-2 (RET.); Fernanda Contreras Gomez def. Katja Wiersholm 7-6, 6-3; Katie Volynets def. Lulu Sun 3-6, 6-4, 6-0; Jia-Jing Lu def. Sophie Williams 6-1, 6-2; Emiliana Arango def. Elysia Bolton 6-3, 6-2; Kurumi Nara def. Nadja Meier 6-2, 6-0.


Madalina Man/Laura Marti def. McKenzie Davis/Allie Murrell 6-4, 6-4;


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Prep Sports Writer

A nine-time APSE national award winner, Scott authored, "70 Years of Thrills and Chills, Drama and Dents at Darlington Raceway." Scott has received several SCPA awards, 8 for 1st place since moving to SC in 2010 from his home state of Georgia.

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