Whitehorse’s Jan Polivka was two games away from his sixth men’s singles title at the Yukon Territorial Tennis Championships at Whitehorse’s Mount McIntyre on Monday.
But Justin Halowaty, also of Whitehorse, wasn’t done yet.
With the sun slipping behind the horizon, the temperature falling to about 5 Celsius, Halowaty fought back from a set down to win it.
“Usually I start out slow; it takes a bit to get into the serve,” said Halowaty. “In a pro-set I would have been done like dinner because he was already up 6-1.
“With serve and volleying, I have to get my serve in – in a bit of a rhythm – and usually that takes a few games.”
Halowaty won his second men’s title with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over Polivka. He won his first title in the early 2000s, but missed the championships in the past few years because of family obligations.
“I played a lot when I was young and it’s been years since I’ve been able to play much,” said Halowaty. “We have kids, so I didn’t get out much. But I’ve played more this year because they come out to play.
“I’ve played more this year than I have in a while.”
Polivka had all the answers to Halowaty’s serve-and-volley attacks in the first set, hitting passing shots like nobody’s business. But Halowaty, 39, found his groove in the second, breaking Polivka three times for the set.
He then carried the momentum into the deciding set, taking a 4-0 lead.
“I took all the momentum into the third and broke him a couple times and that gets you down,” said Halowaty. “The second set was a hard fought set. There were a bunch of big points at 5-5. I should have had that set twice, and that’s what happens if you don’t play enough: you don’t win the big point.
“After that I felt quite strong.”
Polivka, 33, has won the men’s title five out of the last six years. He defeated Halowaty in a pro-set in the men’s semifinal in 2009.
“He was a better player today,” said Polivka, who is head coach for Tennis Yukon. “I was playing really well in the first (set). And I wouldn’t say I was playing bad in the second, Justin just started to play really well in the second and in the third he crushed me.
“I still played well in the second set, but then I started to make a lot of errors. I missed a few important balls and he started to get really confident.”
Polivka and Halowaty both won their semifinal matches in straight sets with Polivka beating Kevin Patterson and Hallowaty taking Shahid Syed.
It was Halowaty’s second title of this year’s championship. Hallowaty and Patterson claimed the men’s doubles title with a 8-0 pro-set win over Shahid Syed and Zain Syed in the final.
Aline Halliday’s first run in the open women’s division was a good one.
The 17-year-old from Whitehorse won her first women’s title at the courts two weeks ago.
“This is my first time playing in the women’s category instead of the junior category, so it went pretty well, I was pretty happy with it,” said Halliday. “They were all good matches
and it was really fun to play with all the girls and ladies. It was really good.”
Halliday went undefeated in four round-robin matches for the title. Her closest matches were 8-4 pro-set wins over Nancy Hughes and Maya Reindlova.
Her win over Hughes stands out as a tough one, she said.
“That was a really close match,” said Halliday. “She had me running all over the place. That was really fun – all the matches were really good to play.”
Anne Copland and Fleur Marsella took the women’s doubles title, beating runner-ups Nancy Hughes and Maya Reindlova 8-3 in the round robin to seal the deal.
The territorial championships, which began Aug. 19, have gone off schedule due to bad weather and other delays. The mixed doubles final – the last remaining final – might take place this weekend, weather permitting.
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