Singles, doubles/junior, adult – Yukoners know their tennis.
This became evident last weekend at the Fall Season Tournament in Juneau, with finals of various skill and age divisions crowded with many of the 13 Yukoners who made the trip. In fact, Yukoners captured four titles at the event.
Exemplifying why he’s the current Yukon champion, Tennis Yukon coach Jan Polivka won the singles title in the upper men’s division, which housed the highest level of play.
Polivka beat Alaska’s Carandang Bong in the finals, but his 7-6, 7-5 semifinal win over Juneau’s Vini Lata stands out most in his mind. In both sets Polivka swatted away a bevy of set-points for his opponent.
“That was the best match I’ve played since I came here,” said Polivka, who moved to Whitehorse from the Czech Republic in March 2008. “We had very long rallies and by the end we were both exhausted after we were done.”
Polivka’s brother, Petr lost in the first round of the singles of the upper men’s division but cruised through the consolation round, defeating Juneau’s Greg Dostal in the finals.
“He hasn’t played that much over the last couple of years; some in the summer but not that much,” said Polivka. “He played good tennis but just didn’t win (in the regular draw).”
In the junior draw, Whitehorse’s Alex Roberts won the title, with an abbreviated 5-1 win over Alaska’s Erica Hutte in the finals.
“His family just moved here in the summer and I think he played for four or five years in Cincinnati,” said Polivka, who coaches Roberts. “When he came he was really talented and really good. And he has a brother Andrew, who is six years old, and he is really good too. So we are happy to have those two kids.”
Securing bragging rights for both sides of the border, Yukon’s Aline Halliday teamed up with an Alaskan to capture the junior doubles title. Finishing third in the junior doublers were Whitehorse’s Alex Roberts and Ewan Halliday.
No stranger to playing outside of the territory, Ryan Lane, who represented the Yukon at the Canada Summer Games in August, finished second in the men’s mid division, losing 7-6, 6-4 in the finals to Alaska’s Brian Vandor. With partner Ben Pereira, Lane also made it to the consolation finals for the mid division doubles.
“He did great,” said Polivka, who coaches Lane. “The whole tournament was good for him.”
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