The men’s singles final came down to a match between coach and pupil at the Yukon Territorial Championships, held at the newly resurfaced Mt. McIntyre courts on Sunday.
Apparently Tennis Yukon head coach Jan Polivka still has a few things to teach his student, junior Kieran Halliday.
Polivka defended his title from last year, winning his third, with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Halliday, who was making his first appearance in the men’s final.
“It was a fun match because I was playing against someone I’m coaching, and I could see the progress,” said Polivka. “I could play a real game against him and he did well.
“I think the Western Canada Games gave him a little more experience. I think this weekend he played the best he ever has.”
The match grew tight at the start of the second set with five breaks of serve in the first five games. Polivka finally held serve to take a 4-2 lead before Halliday held in the following game, erasing two break points.
“The match started out really slowly,” said Halliday. “I had trouble getting everything in and he took a quick lead. After that I started getting warmed up and hitting my shots better. I got a game in the first, but it was too little, too late.
“The second set started out perfectly; I was hitting everything.”
Halliday was one of five players to represent the Yukon at the Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops earlier this month, coming within points of producing the territory’s first win over a province at a major Games since 1993.
The 15-year-old also became the U-18 territorial champion on Sunday, with a 6-2, 6-1 over Khang Pham, another to play in Kamloops.
“It was closer than the score suggests,” said Halliday. “Not so many deuces, but 40-30s – games like that.”
Polivka arrived at the finals with an 8-1 win over former pupil Ryan Lane, last year’s junior champ, in the semifinal. Halliday reached the final by defeating Michel Morris in the semis, dropping a 4-0 lead before winning 8-7 in a pro-set tiebreaker.
“He’s a really good player and I had a tough time,” said Halliday.
For the second year in a row, Whitehorse’s Laurie Drummond was a three-title winner.
Drummond won the women’s singles title, going undefeated in the round-robin. Her closest match was against runner-up Nicola Pritchett, winning 8-4 in a pro-set.
“That one was close because I went down 3-1 at the beginning and then I came back,” said Drummond. “I had a rough start. I was a little nervous.”
No doubt the favourite from the get-go, Drummond teamed up with Polivka to win the mixed doubles title, downing father/daughter team of Jerry Wald and Kaitlin Wald 6-1, 7-5 in the finals.
Drummond and daughter Marisa Johnson, who played NCAA tennis as a student at Eastern Washington University, defended their title from last year in the women’s doubles, undefeated in the round-robin.
“She just comes out once a year to be nice to me – because mommy asked,” said Drummond with a laugh. “I’m happy that I was in it and can relax now. Now I’ll just watch the (men’s) final and enjoy the rest of the tournament.”
While Jerry Wald came up short in the mixed final, he and partner Ken Liao went undefeated in the men’s doubles for the title.
In senior women’s singles Lisa Pan went 2-1 in the round-robin for first, taking a 8-6 pro-set loss against third place finisher Sheila Senger. Taking second was Rose Mallet.
Junior Trygg Jensen, another player to compete at the Western Games, went undefeated in five matches of the round-robin to capture the U-14 title. His closest match was an 8-5 struggle with Alex Roberts, who took second with a 4-1 round-robin record. In third was Aline Halliday, who also played at the Western Games.
It was a much closer contest in the U-12 division, with three players tying for first, each taking one loss in the round-robin. Decided by counting total games won, Ben Kischuk came out on top, in front of runner up Heather Thomson and Amanda Thomson in the third.
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