A really fun first day in Cincinnati yesterday and we had the live blog going. We’ve got a whole bunch of matches happening already. Look back at our previews for the pros and senior pros for some background on the matches.
7:36 pm EST (Gritty) – A lot of things to go over. The men’s draw was very tough and I think even if you didn’t watch the matches you can see by the scores how close the games were. Cassidy/Nunnery were inches from settling for bronze but then played Smith/Devilliers two tough 12-10 games for a well fought silver.
Lessons learned from the day: Don’t sleep on Dylan Frazier or former division 1 tennis sisters. The US Open could have been considered a bit of a breakout for Frazier but I don’t think one of his men’s matches was streamed. This is a true breakout for the Kawamoto’s in a hometown tournament of sorts. The Kawamot’s need to show it at a few more tournaments before anointing them but they should have the attention of the pickleball world. The fact is that there aren’t nearly enough strong women’s teams out there and there is no reason that there shouldn’t be. It just takes time I guess with pickleball still in its infancy but hopefully we’ll see more and more of this level of talent as time goes on.
I guess I should give some love to Stratman/Jansen. This isn’t the best field we have seen but it still was a solid field. You can only beat the teams that you are matched up with and Jansen/Stratman rolled their competition today. It’s what you would hope to see from them if they are going to reach that next level.
Eva Welsher continues her hot streak after the US Open in an impressive win over Wilhelm/Patys. Witsken and Sperling had to use the game to 15 to get the gold and I wouldn’t have expected anything less from them.
5:21 pm EST (Gritty) – The Kawamoto’s broke Remynse and Esquivel in the 2nd game. It makes the game so much more interesting when new blood comes into the game and I think when you’re Esquivel/Remynse it’s tough when you get down to a team that you’re supposed to beat. Esquivel threw up 2 bad “I give up” lobs down 9-2.
Neither of the Kawamoto sisters have crazy weapons but they are quite steady, and more importantly they have the hands as well as the counters to hold up against higher end competition. The hands play well against someone like Esquivel who generally can’t help speeding the ball up too much. I’ll be curious to see what this gold match looks like.
4:45 pm EST (Gritty) – What a day for Koller/Frazier. It was described as a heartbreaking loss for them 11-9 in the 3rd game when they were up for the entire game. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. This may not be correct but I actually felt that Koller could have toned it down a little in how much court he was covering today. He played great but with Frazier on the other side I don’t know that it was necessary. That’s not why they lost but I couldn’t help thinking that watching them throughout the day. The Rob’s were our #2 team and they squeak into the gold medal match. Cassidy is so much fun to watch with all his weirdness – nothing like him in the game out there.
The Kawamoto’s are playing for bronze after ousting Carr/Koop a second time. I don’t know if it counts but (spoiler alert!) best believe they’ll be in part 2 of our under the radar players feature for the women.
3:10 pm EST (Gritty) – Smith/Devilliers take the winners bracket final but a little surprise with Frazier/Koller beating Navratil/Merchant to go to bronze. We thought they had a real shot at medalling today but I’ll say it again that we were probably sleeping on Dylan Frazier a bit.
The Kawamoto sisters who I only saw play at Simone’s PPA tourney are showing out as well. They took down Koop/Carr in 3 tight sets and are now in the 3rd set against Esquivel/Remnyse. The Kawamoto’s remind me a bit of the Koop/Remynse sisters in that they have this straight up and down style that looks almost like they aren’t trying. But two D1 tennis sisters who are playing more pickleball look to be an up and coming pair potentially.
Thompson/Welsher a bit of a surprise on the women’s senior pro side with a straight sets victory of Wilhelm/Patys.
2:17 pm EST (Gritty) – Franco/Ansboury were smoked by Jansen/Stratman. The win in itself is not surprising but the 11-1, 11-1 scoreis.
Frazier/Koller came back from 8-0 and then 13-7 down to beat Johnson/Goldberg 15-13. Those games to 15 go quick and you have to think there was some emotional let down to start the match after almost taking down Pat/Jay. Impressive comeback. It ends up being a fairly predictable top 4 but let’s see if Frazier/Koller can do some damage against Merchant/Navratil.
Also, Sperling finding Witsken to fill in for Morariu is a pretty much lock gold. The battle for silver is on.
1:35 pm EST (Gritty) – The second semi-final was tight. We considered putting Frazier in our under the radar players column after his very impressive US Open with Jonny Pickleball but we decided against it. He is making is regret that decision. Him and Koller are two nonchalant style of players, which can be deceptive. Frazier has seriously good hands. Devilliers/Smith pulled it out but that’s what we can call a moral victory for Frazier/Koller. Overall, the draw is shaking out as we thought but not without some fun matches.
Two surprising results in the backdraw of the men’s with Seckel/Wilson taking town Fajardo/Young as well as Cincola/Hewett getting blown out by Goldberg/Johnson.
The men’s senior pro is going as expected so far with some close matches.
12:20 pm EST (Slim) – The first men’s doubles semi-final is in the books with the Robs, Nunnery and Cassidy, taking down Altaf and Zane in three. After two tightly contested games, Nunnery and Cassidy rolled 11-1 in game 3. A couple thoughts were Altaf and Zane should’ve used their time out, you can’t take them home and I am of the mindset pretty much any time a team rolls off 3 straight points, you should call one if you have it. Also I had to agree with Dom on the broadcast, at some point Zane and Altaf needed to recognize that Cassidy had caught fire and just to change it up try playing Nunnery.
11:20 am EST (Gritty) – A lot has happened so far today but nothing that has been all that surprising. The most interesting match of the day has been Frazier/Koller taking down Fajardo/Young. I would have had that match at essentially a coin flip but Dylan Frazier is showing out this weekend so far. He had a very good day in mixed yesterday and that is a quality win for him on the men’s side. They are almost certainly going to have to go against Smith/Devilliers, but let’s see if they can make a run through a back draw (although we know what happens when you assume…).
The senior pro men are already going but nothing too noteworthy so far. The women get going at 11:30.