There are two pro tournaments this weekend and it will be the first overlap of the 2022 season for pickleball. They are both smaller tournaments for the respective tours with this PPA event in Minnesota. The big question going into the weekend for the PPA players is whether you actually attended the tournament if you didn’t post something on social media about how cold it is in Minnesota. In all seriousness, even though it is indoors, it is an odd move to do a tournament in February in Minnesota and you see that in the draw sizes at this PPA. Only 5 women’s singles players that are all PPA contracted players. Women’s singles is tough sledding for draw entries on a good weekend in pro pickleball but we don’t imagine there is much incentive for non-PPA women to go to Minnesota to lose to the top singles players out there (minus Catherine Parenteau. Of further note in this tournament is that Rob Nunnery is not present for the 2nd week in a row. In spite of Pat Smith’s injury issues he has gone public about, Smith is still attending with a fill-in partner, Ben Newell, after he was registered to play with Nunnery as recently as one week ago. It is over a month since we have gotten a Freestyle Boys podcast too. No clue what is going on there, but all of it seems somewhat weird.
Slim is 3 up on the year but with two tournaments Gritty can get right back into this. The team that picked first was Gritty’s and it leaves him one short of women’s singles players in fantasy because of the 5-player draw.
(1) Anna Leigh Waters / Ben Johns (Gritty)
(2) Anna Leigh Waters (Slim)
(3) Collin Johns / Ben Johns (Slim)
(4) Callie Smith / Lucy Kovalova (Gritty)
(5) Tyson McGuffin (Gritty)
Gritty – The first picks are easy in the fantasy drafts for PPAs right now. With no Parenteau, I probably could have gone Anna Leigh here but I go Anna Leigh/Ben as I don’t think it will matter. Lucy/Callie are a freight train and heavy favorites heading into the weekend. You have to go Tyson McGuffin in this field without Ben Johns in the singles draw for whatever reason.
Slim – Anna Leigh has looked dominant in singles so far this year, so she was an easy pick at number 2. The John’s brother have looked strong so far this year, but a real argument also could’ve been made for Callie and Lucy with the third pick, as they are looking like a dominant team.
(6) Lea Jansen (Slim)
(7) Jessie Irvine / Catherine Parenteau (Slim)
(8) Riley Newman / Matt Wright (Gritty)
(9) Jay Devilliers (Gritty)
(10) Lucy Kovalova / Matt Wright (Slim)
(11) Anna Leigh Waters / Leigh Waters (Slim)
Gritty – Riley Newman/Matt Wright still have gold upside even though it was not as strong of a performance last weekend in the gold. It seems they are destined for a silver at a minimum. I’m going with the history of performance with Jay Devilliers in singles. He is going to show it at some point. At least, I’m hoping so.
Slim – With no Catherine Parenteau in the singles draw, Lea is a clear top 2 singles player in the draw. It will be interesting to see if she can challenge Anna Leigh. Jessie and Catherine have been the clear number women’s team, but can they find an answer for Callie and Lucy? It has been a slow start to the year for Matt and Lucy, but I think they are due to breakout this weekend. The Waters are clearly the third best women’s team but they seem stuck there. How long until Anna Leigh moves on from Mama Waters?
(12) Catherine Parenteau / Riley Newman (Gritty)
(13) Callie Smith (Gritty)
(14) Thomas Wilson / AJ Koller (Slim)
(15) Thomas Wilson (Slim)
(16) Tyson McGuffin / Jay Devilliers (Gritty)
(17) Callie Smith / AJ Koller (Gritty)
Gritty – I had Catherine/Riley ahead of Lucy/Matt so I’m happy to get them here, but so much of these draws are seeding dependent at PPAs. I expect Lucy/Matt to still have the #1 seed, which makes life more difficult for other teams. Callie Smith in singles is the clear #3 but there seems to be limited upside as she has somewhat plateaued in recent months with her results. I thought I could get Thomas Wilson in singles if I waited, but I was wrong so I settle for Tyson/Jay. I actually had Tyson/Jay a smidge ahead of Wilson/Koller, but Slim made a good point when we drafted that Loong/Koller took away a bronze when we think Wilson is a better player than Loong. I also wanted Callie/AJ in mixed over Jessie/Jay – too much upside potential there to find a podium even if their floor is lower.
Slim – Thomas Wilson is the breakout men’s player right now, so I take him and his cousin AJ in mens doubles, as well as in singles and like him to make the podium in both events.
(18) Ryan Sherry (Slim)
(19) Irina Tereschenko (Slim)
(20) Irina Tereschenko / Yana Grechkina (Gritty)
(21) Tyler Loong / Callan Dawson (Gritty)
(22) Tyler Loong (Slim)
(23) Lea Jansen / Christine McGrath (Slim)
Gritty – Irina/Yana were the clear #4 team and if anyone falters, they should be there to find a podium over the rest of the women’s teams. In a small men’s field, Loong/Dawson are the #5 team undoubtedly but I don’t see anything really happening from them.
Slim – Ryan Sherry did everything but crack the podium last week, can he do it this week, in a field that doesn’t feature Ben Johns? If one of Anna Leigh, Lea or Callie slip up, Irina will be the one to take there spot on the podium. Tyler Loong has shown some promise in singles this year after not playing a lot of singles the last couple of years. In a shallow women’s field Lea Jansen is clearly the best player left, so I’ll take her and Christine McGrath here, despite Christine not having gotten results in what seems like a decade.
(24) Allyce Jones / Meghan Sheehan-Dizon (Gritty)
(25) Frank Anthony Davis (Gritty)
(26) Jessie Irvine / Jay Devilliers (Slim)
(27) Lea Jansen / Thomas Wilson (Slim)
(28) Allyce Jones (Gritty)
(29) Spencer Smith / Chuck Taylor (Slim)
Gritty – I feel like I’m being too hard on Jones/Sheehan-Dizon but I’m not seeing it from them for the level they need at PPAs. I think they would have been better served from a development standpoint not resigning themselves to only PPA events, assuming they are completely exclusive to the PPA. FAD’s results in singles this year have been a bit better but, again, limited upside. Allyce Jones was the last woman available in singles. Spencer/Chuck were taken over Cassidy/Dave Weinbach because Dave is worst player of the 4 as he gets older. Father time is undefeated.
Slim – They finally missed the podium last week, but Jay and Jessie have been a dominant mixed team, so to get them this late seems like a steal. Lea Jansen and Thomas Wilson are an intriguing first time partnership, with high upside.
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