We are back after a lengthy weekend off from pickleball. This is another big one for the APP with the Hilton Head Open in South Carolina. Lots of prize money at stake here and some different partnerships to be intrigued by.
Slim is 3 up on the year and he had the first pick in the draft.
(1) Catherine Parenteau / Simone Jardim (Slim)
(2) Lea Jansen (Gritty)
(3) Jay Devilliers (Gritty)
(4) Dekel Bar / Collin Johns (Slim)
(5) Jessie Irvine / Jay Devilliers (Slim)
Slim – Simone’s injuries gave me pause with going first overall with her, however I think at the end of the day her and Catherine’s consistency carries them in this women’s field. I always have concerns with singles picks in these fields, when singles is on Sunday. Dekel and Collin are a new partnership (they did partner when they first were breaking into pickleball a few years ago), so there is some risk taking them here, but I think they are clearly the most talented men’s team, and their styles should fit well together . We have seen Jessie and Jay have some success as a new mixed partnership, as they are coming off a silver at the Texas Open.
Gritty – Lea Jansen was the number 1 player on my board so I’m happy Slim chose to take Simone/Catherine ahead of her. The number 1 team in this tournament could go either way but I liked Jansen because she’s clearly the best singles player in this field. Simone, on the other hand, posted on social media recently that she is dealing with a torn hamstring, torn labrum in her hip and bulged disc. Torn can mean a wide variety of things but if any of this is true she should not be playing, except that she may be trying to salvage the last of her Ben and Lucy partnerships. Anyway, I go with Devilliers with my next pick as I felt he was the only clear #1 from the remaining 3 brackets.
(6) Jay Devilliers / Patrick Smith (Gritty)
(7) Catherine Parenteau / Dekel Bar (Gritty)
(8) Jessie Irvine / Susannah Barr (Slim)
(9) Catherine Parenteau (Slim)
(10) Zane Navratil (Gritty)
(11) JW Johnson (Gritty)
Slim – I still need to see Dekel put together a whole day of mixed play, and maybe it will be this weekend, but I am fine with Gritty taking Dekel and Catherine at 7. I had Jessie and Susannah clearly as a second best women’s team on my board. We have seen Jessie and Susannah have success playing together, winning the Newport tournament earlier this year. Catherine is clearly the second best women’s singles player in this field, my only concern is if she will play, but given the size of the prize pool, and relatively small draw, I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t.
Gritty – I actually get the teams that I had very slightly as #1 on my board with my next two picks in Jay/Pat and Parenteau/Bar. I get why Slim chose the other teams ahead of them. However, I preferred Jay/Pat over Collin/Dekel because of their experience playing together. I also liked Parenteau/Bar over Irvine/Devilliers due to the fact that Bar is playing very well these days and Parenteau is the better female player. The biggest thing that could upset my singles sweep is that Dekel Bar plays singles but in this field I really like both Zane and JW’s floor and upside.
(12) Simone Jardim / JW Johnson (Slim)
(13) Susannah Barr / Collin Johns (Slim)
(14) JW Johnson / Dylan Frazier (Gritty)
(15) Vivienne David / Lea Jansen (Gritty)
(16) Adam Stone / Rob Nunnery (Slim)
(17) Lauren Stratman (Slim)
Slim – Simone and JW is a fascinating partnership, and one you expect we will see more of next year, if it goes well here, now that Ben is teaming up with Anna Leigh Waters. If Simone was healthier, I don’t think they fall this far. I am infatuated with the Collin Johns and Susannah Barr partnership as we have not really had the chance to see Collin play with top women, and at this point Susannah is an upper tier mixed player. I really like this team to surprise some people and wanted to make sure I grabbed them. I feel like Adam Stone and Rob Nunnery are going to end up on the podium somehow, so to get them at 16 is great value. Lauren has been known to withdraw from singles field, but given the prize pool and draw she should also want to play on Sunday and if she does, I expect her to be on the podium.
Gritty – JW/Fraizer were firmly there as my #3 team over Stone/Nunnery. I think it was a bit of a reach for Slim to take Barr/Johns where she did even if I also had them as my #4 mixed team. That leaves me with the ability to get the #3 men’s team. I followed that up with Vivienne David and Lea Jansen, and I’m fine with getting them here. The upside of this pairing doesn’t particularly excite me in this field but I do expect a podium nonetheless.
(18) Bobbi Oshiro (Gritty)
(19) Sarah Ansboury / Michelle Esquivel (Gritty)
(20) Callan Dawson / AJ Koller (Slim)
(21) Lauren Stratman / Lee Whitwell (Slim)
(22) Vivienne David / Zane Navratil (Gritty)
(23) Shelton Jean-Baptiste / Austin Gridley (Gritty)
Slim – I think Callan Dawson, may still be trying to find his form and rhythm after taking a couple months off with an injury, but if he can find it this weekend, I really like he and AJ and think they are a team nobody will want to face. They both have very solid hands, and Callan’s consistency combined with AJ’s weapons makes them a very tough team. I had Lauren Stratman and Lee Whitwell ahead of Sarah and Michelle on my board, so I am very happy to get them at this spot.
Gritty – I’m glad Slim took Lauren Stratman because I couldn’t in good conscience take Oshiro over Stratman even though I kind of wanted to. Oshiro had really good results in her lone singles appearance earlier this year and I think she is very talented as a player who doesn’t play that much. I went safe with Ansboury/Esquivel as my next women’s team pick, but there’s possible regret for not going with Stratman/Whitwell. We’ll see if the home crowd energy for Ansboury helps them at all. The mixed teams were all very tight after #4 for me and I go with Vivienne David and Zane because of Zane’s still legal serve along with both player’s improving results. Shelton/Austin were also one of many teams that could have been taken to round out my men’s team.
(24) Jenny Bond (Slim)
(25) Dekel Bar (Slim)
(26) Lee Whitwell / AJ Koller (Gritty)
(27) Maggie Remynse / Corrine Carr (Gritty)
(28) John Cincola (Slim)
(29) AJ Koller (Slim)
(30) Amanda Hendry (Gritty)
Slim – I think Dekel is yet to actually play a singles match when I pick him, but his upside is too much for me to turn down at this point. John Cincola keeps proving the skeptics wrong, which for a guy in his 40’s is extremely impressive. And I decide to ride with AJ Koller this week in singles, despite him really not having done a lot in singles in a while. I do wonder, if AJ’s doubles succes has made it a little tougher for him to grind on the singles days.
Gritty – The Whitwell/Koller pick was a last second pivot away from Stratman/Smith. I couldn’t leave Koller off the board when he has had a podium with Whitwell and he’s playing crazy well these days. Remynse/Carr were the obvious last choice for my women’s team. Hendry was a D1 lacrosse goalie for North Carolina and gets to train with Jack Foster so I went with her – I was advised by Slim after drafting that Christee Chargot has had a few fairly impressive singles results in 2021 not that it probably will matter at all.
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