Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Hilo Teen Wins Pacific Sectional Championship

Sarah Dvorak works her way through Sectionals

Sarah Dvorak works her way through Sectionals

While the world was watching 17 year old sensation Melanie Oudin in the Women’s Open Tennis Tournament from New York while tennis eyes in Hilo were focused on 13-year old Sarah Dvorak.

     Dvorak was busy during the Labor Day weekend working her way through the field of 16 in the 18 year old bracket of the Hilo’s Fall Junior Tennis Sectionals Championships.

  Dvorak, an 8th grader from Waiakea Intermediate with a remarkable ability to return the ball from the baseline, fought her way past much older and more experienced players to capture the Pacific Sectional title by defeating Honolulu’s Kelly Ann Domingo, the number one seed, in the finals by a “pro set” score of 8 to 5.

     “We needed to change the format for the main draw by the third day,” Tournament Director Glen Tada said.  “We got a lot of rain over the Labor Day weekend which backed us up quite a bit, but we managed to finish on time using the pro format.”

   To accommodate the need to get in all the matches Tada and his staff instituted the “pro format” scoring which had the first player reaching eight points winning their match.

   “The rain and the delays didn’t really bother me, as I’m used to it,” Dvorak said.

   In the first round of competition Dvorak needed to get by Oahu’s Bobbi Oshiro.  “It was tough as she (Oshiro) moved me around a lot and she kept the ball in play,” Dvorak said.

   Overcoming a first set loss, 4-6, Dvorak rallied to win the second set 6-4 and won the tie breaker 10-7 against a scrappy Oshiro.

   “During the tournament my ground strokes were working really well and my serves were working,” she said.  “I probably need to work on my attacking and on my volleys at the net.”

  Dvorak’s coach, Evan Schermer, has played her in the older, more experienced brackets, in order to face stiffer competition.  “It was a joint decision between my coach, my mom and me to enter the 18 year old bracket,” Dvorak said.

Dvorak, 13, won the girls 18 bracket

Dvorak, 13, won the girls 18 bracket

    Dvorak’s mother, Rose, is the veteran tennis coach at St. Joseph High School.  “My mom has been helping me for years and my coach, Evan, has been coaching me for the past six months.  I owe a lot to my coaches and I’m very grateful,” she said.

“I lack enough playing time in the 18 year old bracket to be seeded, and I haven’t accumulated enough points.  That is why when I enter these tournaments I’m not seeded,” she said.

   The Fall Sectionals started on Friday evening with 115 juniors participating at three different sites which included Waiakea High, Hilo Intermediate and the Edith Kanaka’ole Tennis Stadium and ended with the finals on Monday.

    Earlier in the year Dvorak warmed up by playing in the 18 year old bracket of the West Hawaii District Junior Championships in May then went on to win the 14 year old division of the Nike Junior Tour tennis championships in June.

     To advance in the West Hawaii District tournament Dvorak need to get past three time Big Island Interscholastic Federation tennis champion, Sayo Tsukamoto of Kealakehe, winning in straight sets 6-2, 7-6.

    Next up for Dvorak is the Nike Tournament in California beginning on September 18.  “I’ve entered the 14 year old bracket and I’m hoping to do well,” she said.

    “I think she’s (Dvorak) an excellent player with a good all around game.  She is very competitive and has a promising future in tennis,” Tada said.


September 11, 2009 Posted by | Junior Tennis | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment