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Men’s Night Doubles No Ka Oi

Even if the tennis weren’t superb, fans of Kailua Racquet Club’s annual Men’s Night Doubles Tournament would still have the backdrop to enjoy. Without exception, they always have both: the attractive surroundings and noteworthy tennis.

Mostly, the night-doubles show has spectators.

“It is one of the few opportunities to play in front of a crowd,” said tourney director Bruce Nagel. “Even the college teams, they don’t get to play a match with this many people watching.”

Indeed, the racquet club’s free event owes part of its charm to its fan-friendly environment. Seating is right on top of the action, and close to 700 fans show up nightly for the fun. Door prizes also are a draw.

“The Kailua community and the tennis community have really come on board for it,” Nagel said, referring to sponsorships.

An added attraction is the club’s chef, Camille Komine. A three-time winner of Hawaii’s Best Food Truck, Komine creates all the eats.

The 44th-running of the sports spectacle, sponsored in large part by both Blue Moon and Creative Energy, began July 20 with the start of the qualifying rounds. (Matches are held nightly at 6 and 7:15 p.m.) Thirty-two teams are vying for eight spots in the Main Draw.

On July 27, seeded teams will begin playing against teams that survive the week’s qualifying rounds. The finals are at 6 p.m. Aug. 2. The tournament also represents the last leg of the Triple Crown in Hawaii.

As in past years, the field is stocked with talent, with former college players with Hawaii ties among the most visible competitors, all competing for $7,500 in prize money.

Last year’s championship team of Dennis Lajola and Michael Yani returns, but will be part of different pairings this time around, which means extra intrigue. Lajola is teamed with former BYU-Hawaii standout Ikaika Jobe, and Yani is matched with his brother Andrew.

Also highlighting the field is University of Hawaii sophomore-to-be Marcel Chan, partnered with Carter Lam. Chan lives adjacent to Kailua Racquet Club and grew up playing there.

The action and the food are at 629 Oneawa St. For more information, call 263-4444 — and be mindful of the sinkhole repairs further up the road.

jackster.1969@yahoo.com

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