We have had a number of bigger tournaments for both tours recently so this weekend in Philadelphia will be the first smaller pro tour event in a little while. Going into 2022, we had some real concerns about the quantity of players for women’s brackets, especially singles, at these smaller APP tour stops. However, it is clear that the influx of the number of players into the sport likely means the women’s draws are going to fill up, at least to the point where the draws do not feel like a joke. It is not a deep draw by any means in Philadelphia relative to other APP tournaments for any of the brackets, but if you look at the number of women’s teams in both doubles and singles, there’s a decent number of players out there.
We highlighted Emily Ackerman at a previous tournament as one to watch a few months back, and she is now officially done with college tennis. Ackerman even has a pickleball specific Instagram account now! Ackerman is playing with a newbie, Glauka Carvajal Lane, who is also from college tennis and will be in the singles bracket as well. It seems our concerns about these brackets being a joke at some of the tournaments is simply not going to be the case for the most part and that is good for the sport.
Slim’s lead is down to 3 now as we head into the final quarter of the year. This week will be very important as this field is one of the more difficult ones to handicap with so few top players in the field, which makes the draft boards for each of us that much more important. This is our bi-monthly disclaimer that the draft does not represent our respective podium selections. There are no duplications in our selections and we tally up points for our teams based on podiums that lead to a winner each week. Slim won the toss and elected to pick first
(2) Vivienne David / Lauren Stratman (Gritty)
(3) Eden Lica / Andrei Daescu (Gritty)
(4) Vivienne David / DJ Young (Slim)
(5) Jorja Johnson (Slim)
Slim – Crazy that just a few months a go, no one had heard of Fed, and now I am taking him first overall. With a number of the top singles guys skipping this week, I like his chances here, as he is a pretty consistent player for such a newcomer. DJ Young and Vivienne David tend to play well together and are the most proven team in this singles field. After finally getting a bit of break in July to rest, Jorja Johnson’s singles results have picked back up so I like her here, as she is the most accomplished singles player in the field.
Gritty – Vivienne David has been on a tear, and she has another elite partnership in a field that is less than elite. Anything less than gold for David and Stratman will be a disappointment. Eden and Andrei are always steady together and with such a thin men’s field, the same anything less than gold mentality is in play for the Romanian duo.
(6) Mario Barrientos / DJ Young (Gritty)
(7) John Cincola (Gritty)
(8) Andrea Koop / Andrei Daescu (Slim)
(9) Jorja Johnson / Milan Rane (Slim)
(10) Megan Fudge (Gritty)
(11) Megan Fudge / Oliva McMillan (Gritty)
Slim – Andrei Daescu has been playing more mixed lately and his mixed game is rapidly improving as a result. Playing with Andrea Koop this weekend, he has a chance to win it all. Jorja Johnson and Milan Rane are now MLP teammates, so this will be some good practice for them.
Gritty – I did my board before Koop replaced her sister Remynse in the Daescu partnership but I’m still happy to get Barrientos/DJ Young here. Mario and DJ are a good fit together and in this men’s doubles field they should be a silver medal team at worst. Even though DJ gonna DJ sometimes, the man has been riding high off the MLP championship boost. John Cincola has the ability to beat Staksrud so in a field of this calibre, I really like him to find a podium in singles. I have all of the Megan Fudge this week and I stick with her despite the switch in partnership from Remynse to McMillan.
(12) Jorja Johnson / Gabriel Tardio (Slim)
(13) Rosie Johanson (Slim)
(14) Pablo Tellez (Gritty)
(15) Pablo Tellez / Brendon Long (Gritty)
(16) Gabriel Tardio (Slim)
(17) CJ Klinger (Slim)
Slim – Jorja Johnson and Gabe Tardio, despite their youth, have a lot more pro experience already than a lot of the teams on this field and I will be surprised if they don’t crack the podium this weekend. Rosie Johanson is a newcomer, but definitely a player to keep your eye on, in just her second pro singles event she took bronze at the Los Angeles Open. I went back to back with Gabe Tardio and CJ Klinger in men’s singles because they are two young guys who play fearlessly and I like the chances of one of them getting hot and making a deep run.
Gritty – I have all the Pablo Tellez and Megan Fudge stock for Philadelphia. Tellez’s game continues to improve and, while his men’s game is the weakest of the 3 events, Long is a solid partner and Tellez has shots to make some noise on the doubles front. Tellez is always a threat in singles even if his consistency from tournament to tournament leaves something to be desired.
(18) Milan Rane (Gritty)
(19) Megan Charity / Rosie Johanson (Gritty)
(20) Annica Cooper (Slim)
(21) Gabriel Tardio / Wyatt Stone (Slim)
(22) Lauren Stratman / Alex Neumann (Gritty)
(23) Megan Fudge / Stefan Auvergne (Gritty)
Slim – We haven’t seen Annica Cooper in a while but in a women’s field that isn’t as deep as most of the ones we have been seeing lately, I like her chances. Could this be the weekend that Wyatt Stone gets his first pro podium? Partnering with Gabe Tardio, he has a real chance, but they did not have a great showing in the Shootout on Thursday evening.
Gritty – The recently traded Milan Rane should be in contention for a medal this weekend. Rane has solid results in singles and this is the least top heavy female field we have seen in a while. Meg Charity sure knows how to find partners. Rosie Johanson is a riser in the pickleball world so look for these two to be in podium contention. For the mixed slots, we have seen Alex Neumann get a good result with Parris Todd so why not this weekend with another higher end than you would expect mixed partner for him in Lauren Stratman. Auvergne’s results have tailed off in recent months but this is as good a spot as any to get right with Megan Fudge.
(24) Federico Staksrud / John Cincola (Slim)
(25) Stefan Auverge / Alex Neumann (Slim)
(26) Milan Rane / Pablo Tellez (Gritty)
(27) Jack Foster (Gritty)
(28) Alix Truong / Monica Paloicelli (Slim)
(29) Emily Ackerman / Glauka Carvajal Lane (Slim)
(30) Olivia McMillan (Gritty)
Slim – Federico and John Cincola are a very intriguing men’s team in this field. I will be watching them closely, as I am very curious how they will do. I think Stefan Auvergne and Alex Neumann’s game should compliment each other’s well and I think they could do well here. Alix Truong and Emily Ackerman are a couple ladies on the rise, so it will be interesting to see how they fare with their partners this weekend.
Gritty – Pablo Tellez can play some mixed pickleball. He performed really well with Ansboury at MLP and we see him get good wins with others like Maggie Brascia outside of that. Tellez and Rane are worth taking a chance on. FAD went on Twitter today and announced this would be his last APP event so maybe I should have gone with a motivated FAD in a relatively thin men’s singles field. However, I want the upside that Foster provides despite the fact that he hasn’t been finding the same results that he did towards the end of 2021. There were a few women I could have picked in this final singles slot but I’m hoping McMillan’s knee is good to go these days for singles. If it is, I think McMillan has an outside shot at a medal in singles.
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