We are off and running with another tournament for the APP. As we have noted, a lot of big names here for this $50k prize pool APP. 4 days of tournament play as we start on a Thursday and end with a Championship Sunday.
Sunday, September 4th – Championship Sunday
6:50 pm EST – Rough day at the office for the Johnson’s. 0 for 5 combined for gold medals. It’s a solid weekend overall but it can’t feel good to come out of a day losing all of your matches. The women’s one for Jorja had to be most deflating because of how close it was throughout and they were right there. Bright salvages an almost very rough day with a win in mixed.
5:42 pm EST – Johnson wins the 2 out of 3 again but does not get the double dip. It’s weird how these things can go quick in the games to 15 as Dekel/JW won 2 straight then lose 15-5. Daescu/Frazier get a bit of a surprise gold but the bigger story from this has to be that the JW/Dekel partnership is not the dominant one it could have been on paper.
3:30 pm EST – We get a double dip with Stratman/Koop going 3 really tight games and then pulling away finally a little in the second half of the game to 15. Andrea Koop decided to take over and she has more offence in her game than people sometimes realize. Two very evenly matched teams and Koop/Stratman got it to go their way today. Impressive run from them after being knocked out early. This is why the double dip is important in our eyes. Kawamotos beat them early due to poor seeding because the Kawamotos play limited tournaments but they get a chance to get back to gold.
2:16 pm EST – JW had to work very hard to get the 2 out of 3, but didn’t get anything going in the game to 15 as (I believw) Staksrud got his first win over JW, 15-4 in the 2nd match. That’s Federico’s best gold medal to date in such a large field. On the other end, both Bright and JW have lost grueling singes matches only to have 2 more to play. Anna is currently tied at 1 game a piece in two very tight games for the women’s gold and it’s going to be a grind of a day for both players if they want to win.
12:27 pm EST – Salome Devidze pulls out another gold, this time against Anna Bright. Anna Bright won 14-12 in the second and then lost 11-7 in the third. Devidze was just a little too good for Anna on this day. You wonder if this impacts Anna the rest of the day as this is 4 days of play and she has 3 matches today.
Saturday, September 3rd – Doubles
8:57 pm EST – We’ll try to give some thoughts on the day here as there were some wide ranging results. Let’s start with the Minnesotans, Aanik Lohani and Amrik Donkena. We thought Esquivel/Cassidy losing to Lohani/Tavernier yesterday 15-4 was a bad loss but we just don’t know Lohani maybe. It’s not often in doubles two virtually unknown guys make real noise but that’s just whay they did. They beat Sobek/Adam Stone in 3, Cincola/DeHeart in 2 and then Wilson/Young was the easiest at 11-6, 11-0. Like, what? They lost to Johnson/Bar in the semis but what a damn run. They ended up losing 16-14 to Deheart/Cincola in the backside but all their results seem to indicate it was not a flash in the pan. About as good a 3-2 day for them as you could imagine.
JW/Dekel are clearly still figuring things out as they lost to Daescu/Frazier in the winner’s final in 3 but they will have another shot at them tomorrow as they beat Wilson/Young who impressively worked their way through the backdraw to come out with a bronze.
So much to talk about. Cincola/DeHeart had a strong 4 place day after their early loss that was buoyed by a 19-17 win and the earlier 16-14 win referenced. Yates/Hewett had a good day as well getting Zane/Altaf in 3 and then taking Frazier/Daescu in 3.
On the women’s side, Etta Weight and Lee Whitwell were the story of the day even though the bronze ended with a whimper. They beat Jardim/Lina in a retirement, Brascia/Barr 13-11 in the third, then lost 12-10 in the third to Johnson/Bright. Etta Wright may be a force going forward as those are elite results with Lee Whitwell.
Koop/Stratman get back to gold after losing to Kawamotos in a brutal first match of the day. Another team with a very good day was Vivienne and Alix Truong, who had the win over the Kawamotos and took Stratman/Koop to 3 games. A ton of parity all over the place today and that’s a lot of fun.
Friday, September 2nd – Mixed
8:27 pm EST – Bright and Frazier get to the gold by a hair, dropping game 1 and winning game 2, 11-9, before winning 11-3. They had a long haul through the backside but they make it there. That has to be disappointing for Koop/Navratil too.
6:22 pm EST – The Johnson’s are through to the gold match but the story of the day has to be Brascia/Ignatowich, who get another very strong win against Dekel/Jade, 15-13, to put themselves in the match to go to bronze against Bright/Frazier. Big day for those two.
5:00 pm EST – What a match for Koop/Navratil. Back and forth in game 3 that they come out on top of over Dekel/Kawamoto. Dekel sure gets hot out there but sustaining that level when he takes as much court as he does is really difficult. It was by a hair but Koop/Navratil were ultimately steadier. They were down 9-5 in the third and clawed their way back to an 11-9 win. The well rested Johnson’s will be waiting for them.
James Ignatowich showing his mixed worth with Mary Brascia as they are fighting through the backdraw. Wins over Whitwell/Daescu, Simone/Federico and now 16-14 over the Lions #1 mixed pair, Etta Wright/Thomas Wilson. That’s already a helluva day from Brascia and Ignatowich.
2:56 pm EST – Time to get caught up here. Dekel and Jade Kawamoto go from barely squeaking by Truong/Yates, 11-9 in the third, to getting a two game win over Bright/Frazier at 7 and 6. Our theory on Dekel is that he can take too much court in mixed and that’s what can get him into trouble, but Jade Kawamoto is such a steady partner for him. He seemed to be a little more under control than he sometimes is against Frazier/Bright. These fields are tough as they still have to get by Koop/Navratil to get to a winners bracket final and that match could be a doozy.
On the top half of the bracket, we have the Johnson’s facing off against Hunter Johnson/Vivienne David. Hunter and Vivienne took down Simone/Staksrud in 3 tough games, 11-8 in the third. It’s a big win for them as two not so much singles specialists faced off against each other with very high end mixed partners. Jorja and JW are not invincible by any stretch so this will be a good test for Hunter Johnson.
11:57 am EST – It’s early on in the mixed day but we have some interesting early round matchups to wet our beak with. Adam Stone making his long-awaited comeback, got a pretty solid win with Rosie Johanson in 3 games over Michelle Esquivel/Rob Cassidy. Stone/Johanson have Vivienne David/Hunter Johnson right now and that should be a legitimately interesting matchup. You have to wonder how Stone’s timing and fitness is after such a long layoff. While that was a good win for Stone/Johanson, Esquivel/Cassidy then proceeded to lose to Jennifer Tavernier/Lohani in the backdraw and that loss looks like some kind of meltdown for the couple. That’s a really bad day for those two.
In a match-up of the lefties, Ansboury/Hewett tell Padegimaite/Tellez that they are going to have to wait their turn with an 11-8 win in the third game. Ansboury/Hewett is not a team you want to see in these early rounds of the mixed pro draws. One more notable result is Stratman/Arnold handily beating Corrine Carr/DJ Young 4 and 7. If it wasn’t for Corrine/DJ’s most recent bronze, this wouldn’t be much of anything to take note of but their wins have been impossible to ignore. You do wonder whether the bronze medals at big tournaments for that pairing were unsustainable.
Thursday, September 1st – Singles
6:57 pm EST – Pretty clear Ignatowich didn’t have any gas left in the tank. Loses in two to JW who can double dip for gold on Sunday. It could be a very tiring Sunday for JW.
5:42 pm EST – Salome Devidze will be playing for a gold medal once again, winning in 3 games over Rosie Johanson. Devidze cruised after losing game 1. Devidze will play Anna Bright who is back in a gold medal match after a bit of a lull. Bright got the win over Jorja Johnson to get the bronze and then gets by Johanson in 2 games. This one has to feel good for Bright in a deep women’s field and we’ll have to see if she can get the best of Devidze, who was one of the opponents for Bright in her big Punta Gorda breakout back in February.
On the men’s side, Staksrud is also going to be playing for gold once again as he wins over James Ignatowich in 3 games, with the 3rd one being very tight. Staksrud was down 8-5 to Ignatowich and ultimately came out on top 11-9. The way singles is played now, we see these big runs as guys are just blasting ground strokes from the back all the time. Staksrud smoked Zane in the semi-finals and it seems these guys who can figure out Zane’s serve have a much easier time with him. Dylan Frazier then bested Zane, 15-13, but then loses to JW Johnson to get to bronze.
We’ll have to see how much energy Ignatowich has left in the tank. If he truly was exhausted after his match with JW earlier in the day and wasn’t being sarcastic, it may be tough for him to muster up the energy needed to take down JW twice in one day.
2:42 pm EST – Ignatowich over JW 9 and 6. He let out a huge roar after winning the match so you can tell what this means to him to knock off JW. The questions have to start being asked of whether players are catching up to JW. His groundstrokes, especially on the backhand side, are not quite as clean as the very elite out there and the cat and mouse game works less and less as guys are able to do so much with the ball from both sides off the bounce. JW almost lost to Julian Arnold and now he goes out to Ignatowich. Losers bracket is still there for him but, man, he almost lost twice today already. Iggy was hot and will play the winner of Fed and Zane in the winners final. Sounds like Ignatowich is struggling with his fitness though.
Notable William Sobek win over Hunter Johnson in the backdraw, 15-13.
Rosie Johanson got a big win again over Mary Brascia in 3 games. She won 12-10 in the second to push it to 3 but we’ll keep saying it that Johanson is one to watch.
12:39 pm EST – A lot of singles heat already, which was more expected given the depth of both draws. The Johnson brothers continue to get wins as Yates follows his W up with a 3 game win over Rafa Hewett and Hunter goes 12-10, 12-10 to beat Dylan Frazier – Hunter then went down to Staksrud in two though 9 and 4. Have to watch out for these brothers.
Anna Bright’s singles results are not trending the way we expected. She loses in two games to another riser, Rosie Johanson. Anna’s doubles game continues to improve but there may be more limitations in the singles than we realized on first look.
11:07 am EST – How about some love for Yates Johnson? Hunter has been getting all the love, including an MLP selection, but twin brother Yates is no slouch. Yates gets a big first round win over Pablo Tellez, who took a silver medal last weekend in Philly. Yates wins 11-9 in the third. Brutal first round matchup for Pablo but big win for Yates. Nothing else too notable so far. Federico got by Tardio in two games, 11-0 and 11-9. Ignatowich is in game 1 with Kusmider on center court.