APP Tour Cincinnati Open – Fantasy Draft Preview

The APP is in beautiful Cincinnati, Ohio this coming weekend and we have a fair amount of partnership musical chairs going on at these APPs. In a slightly softer field than usual, there are a number of more known players partnering with different people. Andrei Daescu is with Rob Nunnery and Alix Truong, Simone Jardim is with Yates Johnson, and John Cincola is with Brendon Long, which isn’t a brand-new partnership but it’s another different partner for Long on the APP side. Mixed is probably the most compelling event of the weekend because of all the new partnerships outside of Parris Todd/Hunter Johnson. We should expect to see some unfamiliar names in position to make some podiums this weekend. 

The season is all tied up in score. Slim got the first selection of draft pick and elected to choose first. 

(1) Parris Todd / Simone Jardim (Slim) 

(2) Rob Nunnery / Andrei Daescu (Gritty) 

(3) Hunter Johnson (Gritty) 

(4) Hunter Johnson / Parris Todd (Slim) 

(5) Parris Todd (Slim) 

Slim – Parris / Simone have yet to lose this year so they are an easy first pick. With Andrei Daescu not playing with Susannah Barr this weekend, you have to make Hunter and Parris the favorites in mixed. Parris is the most talented women’s singles player in the draw, it’s just a matter of how much she wants it and not losing in the main draw.

Gritty – It was not easy to make decisions at the top of this draft. Andrei Daescu has been so consistent on the men’s side that I preferred he and Nunnery because all the other remaining teams were more likely to get knocked off a podium. If Hunter can stop letting his brother be competitive with him in singles, it would be helpful for my fantasy team this week. In all seriousness, Hunter Johnson has been the most consistent singles performer on the APP tour, and this feels like a guaranteed silver barring something crazy. 

(6) Salome Devidze (Gritty) 

(7) Yates Johnson (Gritty) 

(8) Susannah Barr / Megan Fudge (Slim) 

(9) Alix Truong / Andrei Daescu (Slim) 

(10) Susannah Barr / Rob Nunnery (Gritty) 

(11) Hunter Johnson / Yates Johnson (Gritty)

Slim – Susannah and Megan are easily the second best women’s team in this field, I’ll be curious if they can push Simone and Parris at all. Andrei is the most dominant player on the APP tour, so I imagine Alix will feel a lot of pressure this weekend, but they could easily win it all.

Gritty – I opted not to go for the 2nd women’s doubles team because both Salome Devidze and Yates Johnson have gold medal upside in my view. It’s a soft singles field but Parris Todd doesn’t care about singles and won’t grind a backdraw. Yates’ consistency is not where Hunters is, but he can beat Hunter when Hunter lets him. I had Bar/Nunnery ahead of Truong/Daescu so I’m happy to get them here, but their results this year together have not been top notch, even though they were close to upsetting Parris/Hunter at the US Open. The Johnson brothers had a rough outing in Sacramento so I’m hoping for a bounce back here in a thin men’s field where they should be the beneficiaries of a high seed. 

(12) Alix Truong / Milan Rane (Slim) 

(13) Jhonnatan Medina Alvarez (Slim) 

(14) John Cincola / Brendon Long (Gritty) 

(15) Simone Jardim / Yates Johnson (Gritty) 

(16) Simone Jardim (Slim) 

(17) William Sobek (Slim) 

Slim – I will be very surprised if Alix/Milan are not on the podium this weekend. If someone is going to beat the Johnson brothers in singles this weekend, I think it will be Jhonnatan Medina Alvarez. Simone can beat any women in this singles field, you just have to worry about her pulling out to avoid injury or not going through a backdraw, understandably. William Sobek’s recent improvement has been very impressive.

Gritty – John Cincola/Brendon Long made a PPA semi-final together this year so they have the potential to be better than a bronze in this field. I’m hoping my men’s teams can give me a podium sweep. This mixed partnership will be very telling for Yates Johnson. Simone is probably still the most consistent mixed female on the APP side so if Yates can’t find a way to get a podium with Simone, there are going to be big questions with respect to where he sits as a Challenger player. 

(18) Ross Whittaker (Gritty) 

(19) Jenna Hessert (Gritty) 

(20) Megan Fudge / John Cincola (Slim) 

(21) Ryler DeHeart (Slim) 

(22) Alix Truong (Gritty) 

(23) Amanda Hendry / Shelby Bates (Gritty) 

Slim – Ryler Deheart is a guy who has some great singles wins but never seems to be able to put together a whole day. Megan Fudge and John Cincola are both solid even if Fudge’s mixed results have been disappointing in 2023.

Gritty – Ross Whittaker had a strong single showing in North Carolina last weekend before losing to Federico Staksrud in the quarter-finals. The results were not completely out of nowhere for him so I’m happy to take him in this field where anything goes outside of the Johnson twins. Jenna Hessert has some underrated singles results and she’s going to bring a high level of compete to thin women’s field. Alix Truong seems to be quite boom or bust for these singles fields, but I’m banking on the boom this weekend where that bronze medal could be very much up for grabs if Simone doesn’t make it to the winners bracket final. Slim did a smart thing picking the top 3 women’s teams as the gold and silver medals should be locked down in those events. I took Amanda Hendry/Shelby Bates as they bring a little fire and ice to their former D.C. Pickleball partnership and I could definitely see them sneaking onto a podium. 

(24) Austin Gridley / Mario Barrientos (Slim) 

(25) Ryler DeHeart / Amrik Donkena (Slim) 

(26) Alli Phillips / Riley Bohnert (Gritty) 

(27) Shelby Bates / Ryler DeHeart (Gritty) 

(28) William Sobek / CJ Klinger (Slim) 

(29) Shelby Bates (Slim) 

(30) Mari Humberg / Jenna Hessert (Gritty) 

Slim – Austin and Mario are a team that none of the men’s doubles teams probably want to face. They unique styles, create match up problem for most teams. Sobek / Klinger are a team that if they get hot could beat almost any men’s team in this field. Amrik Donkena is an upside player while Ryler DeHeart has been improving with his results.

Gritty – Alli Phillips and Riley Bohnert are two younger females that are making a slow-burn rise in pickleball. There are holes to pick apart in both their games, but they have seem to have hands that can hold up with higher end women. Shelby Bates/Ryler DeHeart found a bronze medal in Sacramento. This is a boom or bust team, but I have to think why not at the end of the draft. Finally, I go with Mari Humberg/Jenna Hessert over Lee Whitwell/Salome Devidze. so I’d rather go with two players who are getting better rather than one on the decline (Lee Whitwell) and one who should, but can’t for whatever reason, figure out the doubles game (Salome Devidze). Mari Humberg got a gold in women’s split age at the US Open and Hessert is getting some decent results in these APP pro brackets for doubles. 

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