APP Tour Newport Beach Open – Fantasy Draft Preview

It is a brief hiatus for the PPA, but this APP will be one more data point to consider before the MLP Draft taking place on July 12th in New York City. MLP revealed the results of the draft lottery for Premier and Challenger on Tuesday with the Chicago Slice hitting the jackpot with the #1 pick in Premier. For the Challenger division, it is less clear if the #1 pick is as advantageous. The St. Louis Shock received the first selection for season 2 of Challenger and they will undoubtedly benefit from not taking Sam Querrey with the first overall pick…or will they? This APP Newport event is the last chance for a lot of these players to either make their case for Challenger or to move up to Premier for season so the stakes might feel higher for this weekend than a typical tournament. Recency bias could be in full effect.

Gritty won the toss and elected to pick first. As we head into the second half of the year, this is a periodic reminder that our fantasy preview is not a selection of podium picks. It is a game we play where we earn points for medals (3 for gold, 2 for silver and 1 for bronze) and the person with the most total points for their team at the end of a tournament is the winner for the week. We draft players/partnerships in a snake draft format. Gritty is currently 1 up on the year. 

(1) Parris Todd / Simone Jardim (Gritty) 

(2) Andrei Daescu / Pesa Teoni (Slim) 

(3) Alix Truong / Andrei Daesuc (Slim) 

(4) Hunter Johnson (Gritty) 

(5) Parris Todd (Gritty) 

Gritty – Parris/Simone are the easiest APP pick. It’s like taking Anna Leigh Waters in women’s doubles at a PPA. Hunter Johnson has been a stalwart on Sundays in singles at these APP events and this is one of the weakest APP singles draws we have seen in 2023. Parris Todd may be well served not to withdraw from singles if she is going to play MLP in season 2. I’m hoping she does not withdraw from this soft women’s draw. 

Slim – Andrei has been the most dominant player on the APP tour this year, so I grabbed him twice here both in men’s doubles with Pesa Teoni and in mixed with Alix Truong. I had to take Andrei until he doesn’t win.

(6) Susannah Barr / Megan Fudge (Slim) 

(7) Megan Fudge (Slim) 

(8) Parris Todd / Hunter Johnson (Gritty) 

(9) Yates Johnson (Gritty) 

(10) Hunter Johnson / Yates Johnson (Slim) 

(11) Alix Truong / Vivian Glozman (Slim) 

Gritty – Parris Todd and Hunter Johnson have been good, but not great in the last 3 months or so on the APP Tour. They should have a very good shot to pick up a gold medal this weekend. I had them as the #2 team but they could easily be considered #1. Yates Johnson’s singles results have a greater possibility of variance than Hunter, but he has the potential to win a gold medal, especially in this field. It seems like Yates has Hunter’s number for whatever reason (or Hunter takes it easy on Yates). 

Slim – Susannah Barr and Megan Fudge have to be heavy favorites to pick up silver this weekend, nobody wins silver medals in women’s doubles on the APP tour like Megan Fudge, but I probably should have taken a team with more gold medal potential here at 6. In women’s singles, however, in a field lacking some of the singles stalwarts like Salome Devidze, Megan could easily take gold, especially if Parris Todd doesn’t play. The Johnson brothers have been getting pretty consistent results in men’s doubles for a while now on the APP tour. The Vivian Glozman and Alix Truong partnership, will be an interesting one to watch, as it’s a new partnership with high upside.

(12) William Sobek (Gritty) 

(13) Emily Ackerman (Gritty) 

(14) Rob Nunnery / Austin Gridley (Slim) 

(15) Simone Jardim (Slim) 

(16) Susannah Barr / Ryler DeHeart (Gritty) 

(17) Genie Erokhina / Rianna Valdes (Gritty) 

Gritty – What a world with William Sobek as the #12 pick in a fantasy preview. There’s little question that this is the right pick in my view but who knows in singles. Emily Ackerman is also undoubtedly the right pick in singles in my mind, but anything can happen in singles. This will be an interesting test for Ryler DeHeart. He has had some bad mixed results, one good one with Shelby Bates and now he has Barr, who is the best or second best mixed player in this field. DeHeart has been playing well at MLP against #2 mixed teams with Emily Ackerman, but how does he do with a chance to win on tour? Genie Erokhina and Rianna Valdes will be an interesting team as Valdes still lacks experience and didn’t have an amazing MLP showing. That bronze medal will be up for grabs on the women’s side this weekend. 

Slim – It will be interesting to see if Rob Nunnery can keep his recent momentum going, particularly in men’s doubles going with Austin Gridley this weekend. Simone Jardim can beat literally anyone in this singles field but the downside with picking her is she understandably won’t play the backdraw if she gets knocked down.

(18) Simone Jardim / Yates Johnson (Slim) 

(19) Megan Fudge / Rob Nunnery (Slim) 

(20) Shelby Bates / Rachel Rettger (Gritty) 

(21) Jenna Hessert (Gritty) 

(22) Tina Pisnik / Tammy Emmrich (Slim) 

(23) Ryler DeHeart (Slim) 

Gritty – Shelby/Rachel have shown they can play well together and they should be right in the mix in this soft women’s field. I picked two women’s doubles teams without going to Tina Pisnik, who is probably the best player left after the top two teams, but I don’t have as much faith in Tammy Emmrich as her partner. Jenna Hessert gets results in singles despite a somewhat unorthodox looking style. That bronze medal is also up for grabs in women’s singles. 

Slim – The Simone Jardim and Yates Johnson partnership is one to watch this weekend, as Yates’ mixed results have been almost inexplicably poor with some very good partners, and he has another great partner this weekend in Simone. Rob Nunnery finally broke through in mixed with Susannah Barr getting gold. Can he replicate that with Megan Fudge? Fudge really needs to prove she can play the right at a high level in mixed if she wants to move up in MLP.

(24) Brendon Long / Greg Dow (Gritty) 

(25) Vivian Glozman / Brendon Long (Gritty) 

(26) Alix Truong (Slim) 

(27) Jack Foster (Slim) 

(28) William Sobek / Ryler DeHeart (Gritty) 

(29) Martin Emmrich / Joey Farias (Gritty) 

(30) Patrick Kawka (Slim) 

Gritty – It is a fairly wide open field in men’s doubles despite there being two higher end teams. Brendon Long and Greg Dow are a good theoretical fit of left and right side players. I’ll be curious how they fare in this field. Vivian Glozman did not look all that comfortable in mixed at MLP but she has so much gosh darn talent that I have to think she and Brendon Long have a chance at a medal this weekend. William Sobek and Ryler DeHeart are a pair that could be frisky this weekend. I bypassed the Sam Querrey/Wes Burrows pairing in favor of two players who are unlikely to be drafted as Challenger players. Martin Emmrich has looked strong in the limited footage I have seen of him and Joey Farias has Challenger tools. 

Slim – Both the men’s and women’s singles draws aren’t as deep as most that we have been seeing this year, so it’s a good opportunity for players like Jack Foster or Alix Truong to find their way back onto the singles podium. It is also a good opportunity for a new player to break through. I took a shot on Patrick Kawka who appears to have a ton of racket talent though I am not quite sure his fitness level is there for singles yet.

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