This is another extended stretch of pickleball for these players at the end of the year. A good chunk of time in Dallas for MLP and Nationals, and then a third event in Daytona, Florida. This one is the Hertz Gold Cup, but it just looks like a regular PPA tournament. We’ll have to see if the grind leads to any upsets.
We are all tied for the year. Slim won the toss and elected to pick first.
(1) Anna Leigh Waters / Catherine Parenteau (Slim)
(2) Anna Leigh Waters (Gritty)
(3) Anna Leigh Waters / Ben Johns (Gritty)
(4) Ben Johns / Collin Johns (Slim)
(5) Ben Johns (Slim)
Slim – Anna Leigh and Catherine have not lost together this year, and Anna Leigh has not lost in women’s doubles, though you could have argued that Anna Leigh in singles was the play due to the weak draw. I do have concerns about how focused and motivated Ben will be this week coming off a long stretch in Dallas between MLP and Nationals.
Gritty – When you have the 2nd pick in these drafts, they are very easy. Pick Anna Leigh twice. Probably the worst women’s singles draw we have seen in some time.
(6) Dylan Frazier / JW Johnson (Gritty)
(7) Federico Staksrud (Gritty)
(8) Jessie Irvine / Riley Newman (Slim)
(9) Salome Devidze (Slim)
(10) Jorja Johnson / JW Johnson (Gritty)
(11) Mary Brascia (Gritty)
Slim – Riley and Jessie have proven they can make Championship Sundays, but they have yet to pose any threat to Ben and Anna Leigh. I took Salome due to the lack of depth in this singles field, but given that the PPA makes it more difficult for her to ‘hook’ line calls, I may have taken her too high.
Gritty – I don’t know if Dylan/JW are immune to a let down but their stoic ways have me feeling better about them. Federico Staksrud is coming off a bit of a controversial week at Nationals and may be looking to put it past him. Jorja/JW got bronze at Nationals and I had them as the #2 team in this draw that is missing Anna/James (Anna is playing with Andreas Siljestrom, which should be fascinating to watch). Mary Brascia seems as likely as anyone to make it to Championship Sunday in singles.
(12) Anna Bright / Simone Jardim (Slim)
(13) Riley Newman / Dekel Bar (Slim)
(14) Lucy Kovalova / Callie Smith (Gritty)
(15) Tyson McGuffin (Gritty)
(16) JW Johnson (Slim)
(17) Catherine Parenteau / Tyson McGuffin (Slim)
Slim – Anna Bright has not had much success in women’s doubles this year outside of her Anna Leigh partnership so it will be interesting to see how she does with the always steady Simone Jardim. Riley and Dekel are an extremely intriguing partnership as Dekel provides Riley with the power he needs, and Dekel looks like he may be better when he isn’t overextending on the court which should be the case with Riley. JW Johnson always has gold medal potential in singles, but I am not overly optimistic on him going back to back, coming off of his nationals gold.
Gritty – I wish I had gotten Riley/Dekel as I think that team could be very tough with how Dekel has become so comfortable on the right side. Lucy/Callie are the #2 team as they generally have good seeding in these tournaments and all the women’s teams are jumbled together after ALW/Catherine. Tyson McGuffin didn’t have a good showing at Nationals and that’s usually when he bounces back with a strong tournament.
(18) Pablo Tellez / Federico Staksrud (Gritty)
(19) Lea Jansen / Hurricane Tyra Black (Gritty)
(20) Irina Tereschenko (Slim)
(21) Jorja Johnson (Slim)
(22) Connor Garnett (Gritty)
(23) Vivienne David / Thomas Wilson (Gritty)
Slim – This is the sort of women’s singles field where I would expect Irina to make a podium experience. Jorja Johnson seems to be moving faster these days, which should really benefit her in singles.
Gritty – Pablo/Fed continue to be one of the top PPA men’s doubles teams. The talent of Jansen/Black as a pairing was too much to pass on at this point. I can’t quit Connor Garnett in singles and feel like he’s due for a breakthrough at some point soon. Vivienne/Thomas are a steady pair that have some upside to make noise.
(24) Travis Rettenmaier / Matt Wright (Slim)
(25) Mary Brascia / Maggie Brascia (Slim)
(26) Meghan Dizon / Jorja Johnson (Gritty)
(27) Christian Alshon / Connor Garnett (Gritty)
(28) Lea Jansen / Federico Staksrud (Slim)
(29) Quang Duong (Slim)
(30) Lina Padegimaite (Gritty)
Slim – The Matt Wright and Travis Rettenmaier partnership is intriguing, as Matt stills finds ways to get it done in men’s doubles. I will be a little curious if they play straight up, or have Travis or Matt on the left side. I expect Travis to start on the left. The Brascia sisters are coming off of a Nationals finals appearance, and few women are playing women’s doubles at a higher level than Maggie Brascia right now. I can’t quit Quang Duong in singles. I think his talent is legitimate and it is only a matter of time before he pops in a PPA event.
Gritty – I thought I could wait on the Brascia sisters but I lose out on them so I take a chance on Dizon/Johnson. I had David/Koop ahead of them but I went with the upside despite Jorja’s women’s game not holding up these days. Alshon/Garnett are an intriguing pair of players who are both on the rise. Lina Padegimaite is someone who has a shot to sneak onto the podium this weekend.