It’s the PPA Riverland Open hosted by Simone Jardim. A couple of weeks after the Carr/Jardim band got back together, we’re throwing it back with Lucy Kovalova and Simone Jardim this week. This “legacy” partnership was the dominant female partnership this time last year. Where are we going to be one year from now? It does shake up the women’s draw a little bit as we get Andrea Koop then teaming up with Callie Smith, which should be fun. Lucy and Simone should benefit from a number 1 seed, which could leave the Waters facing off against Parenteau/Irvine for a spot in Championship Sunday spot. It would be interesting to hear what the PPA contracted players have to say behind closed doors when something like this happens and the PPA points give a legacy seeding to Simone who is not contracted. This should correct itself over time, although someone like JW who primarily plays APPs will be seen a round or two earlier than some would want to face them because of the lower seeding. There are going to be APP players who will make for some scary early round matchups as the year goes on.
Slim is 4 up on the year after suffering his first fantasy loss of the season last weekend. Gritty won the toss and elected to pick second.
(1) Anna Leigh Waters / Ben Johns (Slim)
(2) Ben Johns / Collin Johns (Gritty)
(3) Anna Leigh Waters (Gritty)
(4) Ben Johns (Slim)
(5) Catherine Parenteau / Jessie Irvine (Slim)
Slim – Ben and Anna Leigh have looked dominant to start the year, only dropping one game in their last two tournaments. Getting Ben in singles at number 4 seems like a steal. It may be a very deep men’s singles field, but Ben is still clearly the cream of the crop. The fifth pick was tough, but without Callie and Lucy playing together this women’s doubles field feels pretty open. I decide to go with Jessie and Catherine, despite the fact they are coming off a loss to the Waters, as I think they are the most consistent, proven team in this field.
Gritty – I picked second because I saw 4 gold medal teams with women’s doubles being very up in the air this week. Ben/Collin have been totally dominant this year and, although you’d think they will have to lose eventually, they are a gold star lock for the time being. While Anna Leigh has not lost, she has been pushed by Catherine Parenteau a couple of times recently and Lea Jansen in the past. Can Jansen get it done this weekend? I’m betting on that being a no so without Catherine in the field I prefer AL over Ben in singles by a hair.
(6) Anna Leigh Waters / Leigh Waters (Gritty)
(7) Riley Newman / Matt Wright (Gritty)
(8) Tyson McGuffin (Slim)
(9) Lea Jansen (Slim)
(10) Jessie Irvine / Jay Devilliers (Gritty)
(11) Andrea Koop / Callie Smith (Gritty)
Slim – I decide to take Tyson in singles here, who is coming off of his gold in Minnesota, and he benefits from being the 2 seed and getting to avoid Ben Johns. Tyson has made all three Championship Sunday in singles so far this year. However, this is the deepest singles field to date. Without Catherine in the field, Lea is the clear number 2 women’s singles players, and I am hoping she will bounce back after a disappointing Minnesota tournament that saw her lose to Callie Smith and Irina Tereschenko.
Gritty – The Waters had a breakthrough at the last PPA so there’s no reason why they can’t go back-to-back this weekend. It looks like their seeding will have them facing Catherine/Jessie in the semi-finals, which creates more variance than I would like with the 6th pick. Riley/Matt were a Matt Wright overhead being reset in the mid-court by Thomas WIlson away from another Championship Sunday appearance. They are still the men’s team with the best chance to take down the Johns brothers.
Jessie/Jay lost to Andrea/JW in Arizona and barely squeaked by Lucy/Matt in Minnesota. It seems like Lucy/Matt have to break through at some point, but I still have to go with Jessie/Jay who continue to get results. Andrea Koop and Callie Smith definitely have gold medal upside as the downgrade from Kovalova to Koop isn’t nearly as steep as it may seem to some.
(12) JW Johnson (Slim)
(13) JW Johnson / Dylan Frazier (Slim)
(14) Catherine Parenteau / Riley Newman (Gritty)
(15) AJ Koller / Thomas Wilson (Gritty)
(16) Simone Jardim / Lucy Kovalova (Slim)
(17) Lucy Kovalova / Matt Wright (Slim)
Slim – At this point you know my fantasy rule, which is never bet against JW Johnson, so getting him in singles at number twelve seems like a steal, when in terms of talent I feel like he is the second best player, if you remove seeding. JW and Dylan Frazier are coming off a gold in Plantation, I would say we will see if they can keep the momentum going, but those guys never exactly get too excited… A year ago Simone and Lucy, would have been a top five pick in this draft. How things change. If Simone is healthy enough though, they can win this. There is no way Matt and Lucy should have fallen to the 17th pick. They may have had a slow start to the year in mixed, but their gender doubles results, show they can both still get it done, and it is likely a matter of time until the mixed results come.
Gritty – Lucy/Matt could easily have been picked in the Catherine/Riley spot, particularly with Catherine/Riley likely settling for bronze in a best case scenario if the seeding goes the way we expect. It also has not been as good a year as I’m sure Catherine and Riley expected heading into 2022. On the flip side, they could be due for a big result finally. I’m happy to get AJ/Thomas at this spot. I had them one spot higher on my men’s board than JW/Dylan.
(18) Callie Smith (Gritty)
(19) Callie Smith / AJ Koller (Gritty)
(20) Anna Bright (Slim)
(21) Jorja Johnson (Slim)
(22) Lea Jansen / Yana Grechkina (Gritty)
(23) Jay Devilliers (Gritty)
Slim – I am still all in on Anna Bright and her talent, and I actually like her to make the podium in singles this week, as I think the talent is there, and she is going to be motivated after a bit of a disappointing showing in Plantation last week (Gritty tried to steal my Bright corner last week taking her first overall but this week we are seeing who the true believer is). Jorja Johnson, has to be asking what she needs to do to get some respect, after her gold last week, and she is an easy pick here for me.
Gritty – Callie Smith lost to Parris Todd in Arizona but she had a gold medal match appearance in Minnesota after beating Lea Jansen. There’s silver medal upside with Callie at the end of the day. Callie/AJ as a mixed pair also bring silver medal upside so to get them as the 5th mixed team here feels pretty good. The Lea/Yana pick comes down to Yana being the best secondary player of the women’s teams left to be drafted. There’s power in this partnership so they could find their way to a medal if they get hot. Jay Devilliers’ singles stock is significantly down this year, but he has to be picked at some point.
(24) Andrea Koop / JW Johnson (Slim)
(25) Patrick Smith / Andrei Daescu (Slim)
(26) Parris Todd (Gritty)
(27) Thomas Wilson (Gritty)
(28) Tyson McGuffin / Jay Devilliers (Slim)
(29) Anna Bright / Milan Rane (Slim)
(30) Dylan Frazier (Gritty)
Slim – You know my rule, always bet on JW and I have also always been a big believer in Andrea Koop’s talent, so they were an easy pick for me here, but this noticeably leaves Tyson McGuffin and Lauren Stratman undrafted. I think they caught fire at the Arizona Grand Slam and will have a tough time replicating that result. Patrick Smith and Andrei Dasecu are a very intriguing partnership for me, as the fit with Patrick on the right and Andrei on the left just seems so natural. I only worry about Pat’s health when making this pick. I then take Tyson and Jay in men’s doubles. They have yet to get any results this year, and if the results don’t come soon, I have to wonder if the clock isn’t ticking on this partnership. With my final pick I bet on the upside of Anna Bright and Milan Rane in women’s doubles, taking them over the more established Lauren Stratman and Allyce Jones.
Gritty – I had Jorja, Anna Bright and Parris Todd packed in a row on my big board in that order. Slim may have the right idea going with the upside in Bright first, but I’m always going to be concerned with these singles players until they come to the net regularly. However, Parris Todd has proven she can beat legit competition without coming to the net regularly so who knows what could happen. No Parenteau changes this draw significantly – side note, this is two in a row without Catherine in singles. Is she hurt?
Thomas Wilson could have been drafted in the Jay spot as his singles stock continues to trend upwards. Finally, I could have picked between so many people with this last men’s singles spot. I went with Dylan Frazier with other viable options being Ryan Sherry, Jack Foster, Julian Arnold, FAD and Tyler Loong. I may very well have missed naming a couple of other real options in what may be the deepest men’s pro singles field to date even without Zane Navratil.
Undrafted Note: I thought both Lauren Stratman/Allyce Jones and Stratman/Tyson were basically toss-ups for the 6th slot and Slim chose to go the other way with both his picks. I don’t see anything wrong with it but it is noteworthy, especially Lauren/Tyson in mixed who found their way to Championship Sunday in Arizona.
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