Rivalry reignites in tennis final

Whitehorse’s Jan Polivka admits that friend and rival Kyle Marchuk will win most of the matches when the two play. If that’s the case, the ones Polivka is winning are coming at good times.

Whitehorse’s Jan Polivka admits that friend and rival Kyle Marchuk will win most of the matches when the two play.

If that’s the case, the ones Polivka is winning are coming at good times.

Polivka defended his men’s singles title with a 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 comeback win over Marchuk at the 2010 Yukon Territorial Championships at the Mt. McIntyre courts on Sunday.

“I was pretty aggressive in the first set, but then I sort of eased up a bit and as soon as you do that he gets the momentum,” said Marchuk.

“In the third set I did the same thing; kind of coasted where I should have kept on working.”

Not only did Polivka come back from a set down, he finished the match by winning five straight games after going down 4-1 in the third.

“I didn’t really change much,” said Polivka. “In the first set I had a lot of unforced errors and Kyle played really well.

“In the second set was mine because I played really well.

“My plan was to go to the net more, but he’s so good he didn’t give me a chance to go to the net. So I tried to play my game from the baseline, tried to be patient, not run a lot, and play faster than I usually do.”

Aside from a ladder match that Marchuk won a couple months ago at a Tennis Yukon fundraiser, Polivka and Marchuk have met twice in two other tournaments.

Marchuk, who was absent from last year’s Yukon Championships, defeated Polivka in the singles final in 2008 for the title. Earlier that summer Polivka defeated Marchuk in the finals of the Capital Cup, the biannual match-up between Juneau and Whitehorse players, which always ends-up including matches between players from the same city.

“We always know that we’re going to go to three (sets),” said Marchuk.

Polivka, who moved to Whitehorse in 2008 from the Czech Republic, advanced to the finals with an 8-4 pro-set win over Gordon Puddister. Aside from winning the Yukon Championships last year, he also won the men’s singles in the Fall Season Tournament in Juneau last fall and the Capital Cup singles title this summer, although the Cup itself remained in the hands of Juneau.

“We have some great players here in the Yukon,” said Polivka, who is the head instructor for Tennis Yukon. “We have some great junior programs, so I’m a little worried that the kids that I’m coaching will beat me pretty soon.”

Marchuk, who reached the final with an 8-3 pro-set win over Eric Marcoux, is originally from Ontario, where he represented the province at the National U-16 Championships in the mid-90s.

In the women’s and mixed divisions, there was one name at the top across the board, getting a hat trick of sorts.

Whitehorse’s Laurie Drummond went undefeated over the weekend to win the women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles titles.

In the singles, Drummond went 3-0 in the round-robin format for the title, defeating defending champ Beth Ellis along the way. In the women’s doubles, playing with daughter Marisa Johnson, who played for an American university on a scholarship, Drummond again went 3-0 in the round-robin for the championship.

“She did it for me – she didn’t do it for any other reason than I asked her,” said Drummond, of getting her daughter to play. “The first match we played we lost the first three games in a row, but I think that’s because (Johnson) hadn’t hit the ball for two years.

“After that we got it together.”

In the mixed doubles, which was a draw and not a round-robin, Drummond and partner Van Pham were really given a run for their money.

Like the men’s singles final, not only did Drummond and Pham come back from a set down, they went down a break in the deciding set before taking six straight games for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Ellis and Tom Pan.

“This one didn’t look good for us,” said Drummond. “You just work on each point and I think we got lucky. In doubles you just don’t know what’s going to happen.

“We just got some good shots and they called them nicely. Every game was close, so I didn’t know which way it was going to go.”

In the men’s doubles, Marchuk was again the winner, this time with partner Ken Liao, going 3-0 in round-robin play to capture the title.

“We have really good players here, so every time we play together we get more experience and we learn from each other,” said Liao. “Kyle is a really good player.”

In the junior divisions Ryan Lane, who represented the Yukon at the Canada Summer Games a year ago, defeated Kieran Halliday 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 for the U-18 title, while in the U-14 division Alex Roberts won Pool 1 and brother Andrew Roberts won Pool 2.

For the men’s B divisions, Shahid Sayed took the singles title and the men’s doubles title with Tom Pan. On the women’s side, Carola Scheu won the B singles title.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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