Welcome to the PPA Red Rock Open featuring some reality TV-esque drama. At this point, it seems to be pretty well common knowledge that Catherine Parenteau sent a break-up text to Jessie Irvine after the Austin Open. We had thrown out in our takeaways after Austin that Parenteau may want to think about teaming up with someone like Anna Bright, but we sure didn’t expect think anything would actually happen right away. The grass is always green, right? Parenteau is going to play with Lea Jansen this weekend and there could be far worse consolation prizes for Irvine than being left with Anna Bright. Jansen had been registered with Bright only a short time ago for this tournament. It’s also worth mentioning that Irvine/Parenteau are still registered for future PPAs together currently. This likely means either that the break-up intel is wrong or that they are both working on late in the game partner fill-ins, which is very tough when there are so few quality pro women available.
In addition to the partnership drama, there are some non-drama related shake-ups for this tournament. It appears Matt Wright had something come up as Lucy is playing mixed with Rob Nunnery and Riley Newman is playing with AJ Koller – last minute Koller is back! In their one partnership together last year, Riley/AJ were able to beat Ben/Collin, which is the only time Riley has ever beaten the Johns brothers together. As a weird nugget, the most random partnership of all time might be Dave Weinbach playing pro with Amy McDermott. Weinbach with a couple of very random mixed pro entries out of nowhere first in Minnesota and now Utah despite there being pro events at Red Rock.
If you’re not involved in the drama itself, partnership changes sure make these events more fun! We’re pretty excited to see the new matchups this weekend.
Fantasy wise, Slim is back to 6 up on the year. Gritty won the toss and elected to pick second.
(1) Anna Leigh Waters (Slim)
(2) Anna Leigh Waters / Ben Johns (Gritty)
(3) Ben Johns (Gritty)
(4) Ben Johns / Collin Johns (Slim)
(5) Lucy Kovalova / Callie Smith (Slim)
Slim – I decided to go with Anna Leigh in singles, though Ben and Anna Leigh in mixed also could’ve been the pick. Catherine is the only woman who has pushed Anna Leigh in singles this year and without her in the field, Anna Leigh is a heavy favorite. Ben and Collin have been the dominant men’s team so far this year so they were a fairly easy pick at number four. The Waters took down Callie Smith and Lucy Kovolova last tournament, but I expect Lucy and Callie to bounce back this week.
Gritty – I went with the second selection because of the uncertainty at the top in women’s doubles. I think Callie/Lucy are the team to beat still but the Waters are hot on their heels. Anna Leigh/Ben have been unstoppable and Ben Johns has been mostly unstoppable outside of JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier. This is not as deep a men’s singles field so he should be able to avoid any slip-ups.
(6) Leigh Waters / Anna Leigh Waters (Gritty)
(7) Tyson McGuffin (Gritty)
(8) Lea Jansen (Slim)
(9) Riley Newman / AJ Koller (Slim)
(10) Catherine Parenteau / Riley Newman (Gritty)
(11) Jessie Irvine / Jay Devilliers (Gritty)
Slim – Without Catherine Parenteau in the singles field, Lea Jansen is the clear number two women’s singles player. If she does reach the final it will be interesting to see if she can challenge Anna Leigh at all, because to date AL has had her number. Riley Newman and AJ Koller beat the Johns brothers in Vegas last year, can they do it again this weekend?
Gritty – The Waters are right there and have been playing at a different level recently. They seem to have sorted something out in a good way. Tyson has not missed a Championship Sunday in singles with that #2 seed. He may be due for a loss, but there’s less guys out there to push him this weekend in this field. Catherine/Riley got their first PPA championship in Austin and without Matt/Lucy the door is opened a little bit more with one less team out there. Teams need that 2 or 3 seed in mixed rather than #4 as that means you don’t have to face AL and Ben. Jessie/Jay have been consistently strong all year too so I’m hoping I can sweep the mixed field.
(12) Jay Devilliers (Slim)
(13) Callie Smith (Slim)
(14) Tyson McGuffin / Jay Devilliers (Gritty)
(15) Catherine Parenteau / Lea Jansen (Gritty)
(16) Jessie Irvine / Anna Bright (Slim)
(17) Julian Arnold (Slim)
Slim – This men’s singles field isn’t as deep as some of the ones we have seen this year, and as a result Jay Devilliers is a pretty clear number 3 in the field to me. Callie Smith is also a pretty clear number 3 in the women’s singles field, but there are some newcomers who will be pushing to make the podium. Jessie Irvine and Anna Bright will be fascinating team to watch, we have not seen Anna Bright play on the PPA tour with a player of Jessie’s calibre. I keep betting on Julian Arnold breaking through, hopefully this is the weekend he does.
Gritty – Bronze stallions Tyson/Jay have not been able to come out strong early in these tournaments but this men’s doubles field is pretty thin in Red Rock. An early loss wouldn’t be surprising but if there’s any tournament they can make a run into the semi-finals it should be this one. I had Catherine/Lea and Jessie/Anna super close in my rankings, but I like Parenteau/Jansen by a hair. Parenteau is so damn consistent and Jansen is more polished as a doubles player right now. This is the most interesting women’s doubles field so far this year.
(18) Patrick Smith / Rob Nunnery (Gritty)
(19) Lauren Stratman / Susannah Barr (Gritty)
(20) Tyler Loong / Callan Dawson (Slim)
(21) Tyler Loong (Slim)
(22) Irina Tereschenko (Gritty)
(23) Anna Bright (Gritty)
Slim – Tyler Loong and Callan Dawson are a team that features great hands and should make things tough for their opponents. I just question if they have enough weapons to make the podium. Tyler Loong has been getting some good wins in singles this year, can he string enough together to get a podium?
Gritty – I really like getting Smith/Nunnery in this field with Jay/Tyson so up in the air and after Pat/Rob the field is not very enticing. Susannah Barr has been on a really good run and she is playing well in women’s these days too. Stratman is a higher end partnership for Susannah and I’m quite happy to get them at this point in the draft. They are a sneaky team to make some noise with all the shake-ups. After Slim took the top 3 women’s singles players early, I start filling up here with Irina and Anna Bright. I had Irina slightly ahead of Bright because I know what I’m getting with Irina. Bright doesn’t look comfortable at the net still, which just takes more time for the women. That’s not to say Bright can’t find a podium here but Irina being more seasoned as a singles player keeps her ahead for now.
(24) Callie Smith / AJ Koller (Slim)
(25) Anna Bright / Tyler Loong (Slim)
(26) Parris Todd (Gritty)
(27) Austin Gridley / Brandon Nsekpong (Gritty)
(28) Lauren Stratman / Tyson McGuffin (Slim)
(29) Parris Todd / Cierra Gayten-Leach
(30) Frank Anthony Davis (Gritty)
Slim – Callie Smith and AJ Koller are one of the more dangerous mixed teams. They are not quite as consistent as a couple of the teams ahead of them but on any given weekend they have the weapons to win it. There were a handful of teams that could have been taken with these last two mixed picks but I continue to bet on Anna Bright’s talent, as I take her and Tyler Loong in mixed. However, in retrospect I do wonder if I was a little high on this pair, given the competition? Tyson McGuffin is a little underrated as a mixed player in my mind, and he and Lauren Stratman have shown they can make the podium this year. Parris Todd is another women’s player I am high on and she and Cierra have gotten some promising results together.
Gritty – Parris Todd is in the same boat as Anna Bright. Todd has all the skills but she looks even less inclined to get to the net than Anna. Is she going to figure that out at some point? Spencer/Chuck were the safe pick here but when I don’t think either team has the stuff to find the podium I’ll go with the weirder, unknown duo in Gridley/Nsekpong. I finish off with FAD in singles who has had a better year in 2022. Sherry looks to be working on his game and fitness a bit more recently but he needs to do more of that before I take him ahead of guys like FAD at this point.
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