FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Wei-Yu Su and Minh Le discussed strategy during the first set of last night's Kailua Night Doubles final. Se and Le repeated as champions with a win over Mikael Maatta and Jan Axel Tribler.
Su and Le repeat in Kailua
A year after outlasting Jan Axel Tribler and Mikael Maatta in a three-set final, Wei-Yu Su and Minh Le survived another thriller in last night's rematch to repeat as Kailua Racquet Club Men's Night Doubles champions.
After dropping a tiebreaker in the first set, Su and Le, the top seeds, rallied to a 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-5 victory, becoming the first repeat winners since Ryan Ideta and Alex Sugai won the 1998 and '99 titles and splitting the $2,700 first prize.
The fans who crowded into the bleachers and any available viewing area around the court were rewarded with another classic, with both teams trading points with both power from the baseline and touch at the net.
"I think it's sweeter the second time," Le said. "The first time we came here we had no expectations and to win the tournament was, 'OK, that's great.' Then you come back there's expectations as the No. 1 seed and defending champion. To win it again, there's a lot more pressure."
The teams met in the final a year ago, with Le and Su pulling out the 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-4 win. Both swept through the main draw over the past week to set up the rematch that outdid the first meeting.
"They're a great team and it means a lot to win," Su said. "The last set everybody was holding serve and the last game we stepped up and got the break we needed."
Le was fighting through a case of tennis elbow throughout the tournament, but reached back for big serves when he needed them most.
"It hurts on the forehand and it hurts on the serve, but I just went for it. I've got a couple of weeks to rest," Le said.
They treated the crowd to several spectacular rallies in a first set in which Maatta and Tribler fought off three set points before pulling it out in a tiebreaker.
Su and Le twice broke serve, but Maatta and Tribler answered both times. After Su and Le broke to take a 5-3 lead, they had double set point on Tribler's serve. But Tribler and Maatta won the next four points and held serve with an ace down the middle.
Leading 6-5, Su and Le had another chance to close out the set, but Maatta came through from the service line to force the tiebreaker.
Maatta and Tribler took control early and capitalized on their first set point with Tribler rifling a cross-court forehand.
Le and Su went up a break three games into the second set and stayed there to even the match, dropping just three points on their serve for the remainder of the set as Le fired three aces.
Break opportunities were few in the third set before Le and Su finally broke Maatta to go up
6-5. Le held serve to avoid another tiebreaker and celebrated a second straight title when Tribler's return sailed long.
"Just a few points here or there," Tribler said. "We had some great chances."
Prior to the final, fourth-seeded Bradley Lum-Tucker and Jesse Paer defeated the eighth-seeded team of Chad Shibuya and Gregg Takata 8-4 in the pro-set third-place match.
Prior to the final, Maatta was awarded the Peter Isaak Sportsmanship Award, which Tribler won last year.