Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Tennis Teen Sensation Aiming for Big Apple

Hilo's Sarah Dvorak reaching new level in tennis

   Barely a teenager and already ranked as one of Hawaii’s top tennis stars among 18 year olds, Sarah Dvorak could be headed to New York.

  The Waiakea Intermediate eighth grader, Sarah Dvorak, is turning heads during tennis competition as the 13 year old phenomenon is ranked number 2 in the state for girls 18.

   “Sarah is now at a whole new level of tennis,” Coach Evan Schermer said.  “When the new rankings came out she was #2 in the state for girls 18 and at this time last year she was ranked #2 for the 14 and under group.”

   Schermer believes that Dvorak’s state ranking is unprecedented and based on her tournament record over the past year that she should actually be ranked #1.

   “Sarah hasn’t lost a match in the girls 18 division all year and I have written a letter to the USTA asking them to reconsider the latest rankings,” Schermer said. 

   Dvorak recently breezed through the competition, winning the USTA Hawaii Pacific Section singles title, held March 18-21, by defeating Kauai’s Sarah Kukino in the finals by a score of 6-2, 6-0.

   During the Hawaii Pacific Section tournament Dvorak teamed with Punahou’s Katie Kim to also capture the doubles title, defeating Waiakea’s Ceara Sumida and Kukino in the seim-finals enroute to winning the doubles championship.

   “What Sarah did on Oahu is unheard of in tennis,” Coach Schermer said.  “For a 13 year old to not only win the singles 18 title but to also combine to win the doubles championship is an outstanding accomplishment.”

   According to Schermer, Dvorak went from playing in the 14 and under division last year and bypassed the 16 division to play at the 18 level.  “Now that is what I call improvement!” the proud coach said.

   Dvorak’s mother, Rose, is the tennis coach at St. Joseph and each day Sarah joins the Cardinal squad to work out with them.

   “I run a couple miles with the St. Joe girls to build up my endurance and after practice we will do sprints up hills,” Dvorak said.

   Dvorak will also practice against the Cardinal boys in order to work on her game.  “I need to work on my footwork and to be more aggressive at the net,” she said.  “I have a good percentage of getting my first serves in and I’m strong at hitting short balls.  I have the confidence to play well and I’m very competitive.”

  Dvorak has won all three tournaments she has entered this year and in May will enter the West Hawaii Tourney at Mauna Kea.

   “I plan on continuing to play at the 18’s as this is the best competition for me,” Dvorak said.  “The kids are older, stronger, more experienced and they hit harder.  I’m learning to adjust my game in order to play at the higher level of competition.”

   Dvorak will now be given the opportunity to win a spot at the US Open qualifying tournament in New York.

   “Sarah will need to play in the Hawaii Sectional Tournament that runs from June 2 to 6 at the Central Oahu Regional Park (CORP) in order to win a spot at the US Open,” Schermer said.

   The CORP tournament is an “open” competition which means that Dvorak will be playing against college students and adults, but this doesn’t frazzle the tough eighth grader.  The winners of the tournament will win a Wild Card spot in the US Open.

   “I always try to play my best and right now I’m trying to work my way up to becoming the best,” she said.  “I’ve played in other open tournaments before and I know that I need to play my best to be number 1.”

   Dvorak said that she was a little disappointed at being ranked number 2 in the state for 18 year olds, but she realizes that the more she plays the better she’ll get.

  “My coach (Evan Schermer) helps me a lot, but he’s in Kona and right now, during the high school tennis season, it’s hard for my mom to get me to Kona on a regular basis,” Dvorak said.

   So far, regardless of the obstacles, she has responded and fared well.  That’s a trend that the young tennis star and her coach hopes continues – all the way to New York

April 13, 2010 - Posted by | tennis | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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