Hawaii’s two weeks of tennis heaven begin tomorrow when the 40th annual Blue Moon Men’s Night Doubles Championship takes to the Kailua Racquet Club courts.
Defending champions Dennis Lajola and Ikaika Jobe are seeded first, followed by Minh Le and Wei Yu-Su — the men they beat in last year’s semifinal to prevent a four-peat.
Lajola and Jobe, a University of Hawaii senior and assistant coach, respectively, defeated former Hawaii Pacific All-Americans Mikael Maatta and Jan Axel Tribler in a final decided by tiebreaker.
Le, a former pro who played for Cal, and Su, an All-American in his collegiate days at Brigham Young-Hawaii, are only the second team to win three consecutive titles. Peter Isaak and Kendall Char did it from 1982 to 1984.
Third seeds are Hendrik Bode, another former HPU All-American from Germany, and Kaneohe’s Michael Wojnarowicz, who played for Loyola Marymount. Wojnarowicz is back after working for The Tennis Channel the last few years.
Wojnarowicz and Bode reached the Oahu Club Men’s Night Doubles final two weeks ago, falling to Jobe and high school singles champion Jared Spiker.
The fourth-seeded team is another former champion. Former Santa Clara teammates Michael Bruggemann and Erich Chen won at Kailua in 2003 and ’05.
Tribler is seeded fifth this year, playing with HPU coach — and former All-American — Stefan Pampulov. That means Tribler and Maatta, who recently had knee surgery, will not finish second for the fifth straight year.
Night Doubles, with a $7,000 purse, has its largest draw in history with 56 teams. The top eight are seeded, and the other 48 play in the qualifying round, which begins at 6 p.m. tomorrow.
Five matches are scheduled each night through Wednesday. The eight winners Thursday and Friday advance to the main draw, which starts Aug. 1.
Quarterfinals are Aug. 3 and 4, with Aug. 5 scheduled as a rain date and semifinals Aug. 6. The championship is Aug. 7, following a pro-set playoff for third at 6 p.m.
Matches begin at 6 p.m. each night and admission is free. Food and beverages are available for purchase from 5:30 p.m.