Ex-champs reach Kailua doubles final
By Ann Miller
Advertiser Staff Writer
KAILUA With the big guys setting up and the little ones cleaning up, former champions Ryan Ideta and Erik Sandblom took out the second seeds and seventh-seeded Michael Bruggemann and Erich Chen outlasted the sixth seeds last night to reach the Kailua Racquet Club Men's Night Doubles tennis championship.
The best-of-five set final begins today at 6 p.m. The winning team splits $2,400.
Ideta and Sandblom ousted Bradley Lum-Tucker and Ikaika Jobe, 6-3, 6-3. Lum-Tucker and Jobe worked their way into last year's final as qualifiers, but Ideta and Sandblom stopped them short this time. The third seeds won the first four games, with the 6-foot-6 Sandblom content to keep his team in points and let the 5-6 Ideta finish them.
It worked extremely well early in the match, as Sandblom and Ideta won the first four games. Then Lum-Tucker and Jobe broke Sandblom's serve, closed the deficit to 4-2, and had a break point against Ideta. They didn't get it.
It would turn out to be their last chance in that set and, ultimately, the match. Ideta was the only player who did not lose his serve "I'm not giving away my secret," he said.
Two breaks of Jobe's serve were the difference in the second set. The winners protected their serve despite a high-risk strategy.
"Today we played two guys who hit the ball very hard," Sandblom said. "We had to get the first serve over. If we didn't get the first one in, we had to risk going for the second."
Ideta, who won two state singles championships for Lahainaluna and went on to play at Louisiana State and on the pro circuit, will go for a record seventh Night Doubles championship with a fifth different partner. Sandblom, a former Hawai'i Pacific All-American now settled into fulltime work for CityBank, won the title two years ago with BYU-Hawai'i's Daouda Ndiaye.
Santa Clara teammates Bruggemann and Chen lost the first set despite having a serve at it, but rallied to stop Malino Oda and Chris Ma, 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 6-4.
Oda was the University of Hawai'i's No. 1 player this past season and won two state high school singles titles at Lahainaluna. He teamed with Ma, who won the 1996 state singles title for Punahou, to capture the first set in an erratic tiebreaker.
Oda and Ma pulled ahead 5-3, then lost three straight points on two poor shots and a double fault. Serving for the set, Bruggemann punched a volley wide. Oda and Ma put away the next two points and the set.
Bruggemann and Chen, in their third year together, hardly panicked.
"We knew we had it," said Bruggemann, who graduated from Punahou in 1998 and Santa Clara this year. "A couple points didn't go our way, but we stayed up."
His confidence is anchored in the 6-3 Chen's huge serve. Chen, a Californian playing in his third Night Doubles, drew optimism from Bruggemann's penchant for picking balls off at the net despite admitting, "I can't see at night."
The partners found good fortune earlier in the week when their quarterfinal, against defending champions Erik Vervloet and Brendon Curry, was played in the relatively bright light of a 6 p.m. start. They made their own luck last night, breaking Oda's serve twice in the second set, then finally getting Ma in the third.
SHORT LOBS: Ryan Ideta and Kendall Char share the Night Doubles record with six titles apiece. ... The tournament started with eight teams seeded into the main draw and 37 playing for the other eight slots in qualifying. ... The Bruce Nagel Tennis Academy Women's Night Doubles Tournament is Nov. 19-22. ... Bradley Lum-Tucker, a 2000 Kaua'i High graduate, is an all-Big West player at the University of Idaho. ... Ikaika Jobe won the state high school singles titles for Punahou in 1999 and 2001. He's now playing tennis and studying aviation at St. Louis University. Jobe has his pilot's license.