Lim and Yoshinaga in state tennis final
WAILEA, Maui » Based on their track records in this competition, you just knew that one of the matches was going to be a sprint and the other a marathon. But you would have been only half right.
As expected, Punahou's top-seeded Kristin Lim eased her way into today's girls singles final of the Carlsmith Ball/HHSAA Tennis State Championships.
She needed less than an hour yesterday afternoon to overpower fourth-seeded Megan Yoshimoto of Mililani 6-0, 6-1.
Form didn't quite hold in the match that took place at the same time on an adjoining court under thankfully overcast skies at the Wailea Tennis Center.
Fifth-seeded Sara Yoshinaga of Iolani crashed her way into the final with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over No. 7 Jackie Owens of Lahainaluna in a battle of baseline specialists.
That was relatively short work for Yoshinaga. In her earlier matches, she rallied to three-set victories by ousting ninth-seeded Lyndsey Tom of Kapolei in the round of 16 and second-seeded Brooke Doane of Kamehameha in the quarters.
Although a sophomore, Lim is the overwhelming favorite. She is unbeaten this season. And, as a freshman, she teamed up with Ashley Oshiro to win a doubles title.
"There's a lot of pressure being the top seed," she acknowledged.
But the pressure does seem to bring out the best in her.
Lim laughs, shrugs her shoulders and replies, "I guess."
For her part, Yoshinaga appears to relish her role as an underdog in today's championship showdown. Lim beat her in the semis of the ILH tournament. So Yoshinaga fully knows what to expect.
"I expect her to attack. That's the way she plays. I'll do my best and take it from there," Yoshinaga said.
"We've played against each other many, many times over the years. I've beaten her before, but not anytime recently," said the Iolani senior.
"She's done very well against me, to say the least."
But Yoshinaga also noted that, "I hadn't beaten Brooke in three years," before pulling off the biggest upset in the quarters.
Yoshinaga's doubles team made an early exit from last year's state tournament. She graduated to singles, hoping to "go out with a bang" in her senior season.
You can make a case that Yoshinaga has already reached that goal just by the quality of the players she knocked off en route to the final. An upset victory today, by any definition, would rank well above a mere bang.
In girls doubles, Ashley Ohira and Nicole Nakaoka of Punahou topped Kelsey Daguio and Kelly Domingo of Sacred Hearts 6-0, 6-2 to move on to today's final.
They'll play Alyssa Shimizu and Erin Yamamoto of Mililani, who got past Robyn Ing and Morissa Kahakui of Kamehameha 6-3, 6-4.
In boys singles, Punahou's top-seeded Skyler Tateishi breezed into the final with lopsided wins over 10th-seeded Cainan Shinjo of Leilehua and fourth-seeded Punahou teammate Kevin Caulfield.
Tateishi will face seventh-seeded Matt Westmoreland of Island Pacific, who advanced with wins over second-seeded Reid Kiyabu of Punahou and third-seeded Nathan Nakatsuka of Kamehameha.
In boys doubles, top-seeded Alex Ching and Erik Shoji of Punahou will play their second-seeded teammates, Hiroshi Hikida and Brad Takei, in the final.