It won’t be quite as live a blog this weekend as we have some stuff going on but we’ll try to bring some thoughts throughout the weekend here.
Saturday, May 13th – Doubles
1:04 pm EST – Matches started early today to try to beat the rain so there are lots of matches to note up to this point. Nunnery/Daescu have breezed to the winners bracket final after getting through DeHeart/Donkena. It has been a solid run for Ryler and Amrik as they beat Sobek/Klinger in 2 games. Very interesting on the other side of the draw with the draw opening up for Cincola/Long, who snuck past Junior Mint Munro and Caden Nemoff in their first match but now do not have to face the Johnson twins. The Johnson’s having a rough weekend, losing to McNulty/Mick, who will play Cincola/Long in the winners semi. It will be a long road back for the Johnson’s.
All chalk on the women’s side. Fudge/Barr in the winners final and they will likely face Todd/Jardim. They are playing Hendry/Bates as they got past Whitwell/Devidze.
4:15 pm EST – We are in a rain delay now. Cincola/Long were able to get to a winners bracket final after a very tough 3 game match versus McNulty/Mick. 11-9 in the third is the way it goes as Cincola saw a lot of balls in that matchup. Pickleball Forum staple, Neil Mediratta, and Jerry Huo are having a nice run through the backdraw. They will play DeHeart/Donkena once we get restarted and get the winner of Klinger/Sobek and McNulty/Mick.
Women’s side is chalk on the winner’s side. In the loser’s draw, Truong/Rane barely get past Whitwell/Devidze. Salome’s doubles game looked a little better today compared to the last time we saw her. Bates/Hendry will play Truong/Rane to go to bronze as we expected.
6:00 pm EST – What a great day for McNulty/Mick. They are in the bronze medal match with wins against Sobek/Klinger and DeHeart/Donkena. They will get another shot at Cincola/Long after Nunnery/Daescu beat them easily to breeze to another Sunday appearance for both of them. Mick had a nice win earlier this year against Nunnery/Lica but this one was really out of nowhere. These more open fields provide opportunities for the fringe pros and both McNulty/Mick take advantage.
All chalk women’s day. Par for the course in the winners bracket final as Todd/Jardim lose game 1 and proceed to win the next two. It was close in game 2 as Fudge/Barr seem to be close. They play Truong/Rane in the bronze.
8:35 pm EST – The expected the teams win. Barr and Fudge easily. Cincola and Long win not as easily. Really impressive run from Mick and McNulty as they lose 11-8 in the third and must have given them all they can handle again. The margins, especially on the men’s side, between Challenger and non-Challenger is not much.
Friday, May 12th – Mixed
1:27 am EST – A matchup against Rob Nunnery and Susannah Barr potentially looms for Parris/Hunter in their winners bracket semi-final match. Rob/Susannah will have to get by Bates/DeHeart, but you know they can’t help look towards a rematch from the US Open they narrowly lost. Alix Truong/Andrei Daescu have the 3 seed on the other half of the draw. They have a good path to get to that semi-final where they may see Simone Jardim and Yates ‘don’t call me Kyle Yates’ Johnson.
11:12 am EST – A little rain delay here but they are literally just getting the action going again according to their Twitter account.
3:42 pm EST – Not sure if we are in a rain delay as we have been waiting for a while on some results. Nunnery/Barr are playing Parris/Hunter in the winners semis after both teams relatively cruised to get there. Shelby Bates and Ryler DeHeart got knocked out first match by Austin Tchikatalov and Alli Phillips. Truong/Daescu are in the semis as they haven’t had trouble either. They will likely face Jardim/Yates Johnson.
4:34 pm EST – Parris Todd/Hunter Johnson get smoked by Rob Nunnery/Susannah Barr, 11-3 and 11-5. That’s a pretty surprising result for them to lose that badly and it feels like the field has been catching up / caught up / surpassed Parris/Hunter rather than two players on the rise creating distance between themselves and the rest of the field since the beginning of 2023. It’s not a small sample of results and the results falling off more recently is not a good sign. Speaking of results falling off, Yates Johnson/Simone Jardim lose to Lee Whitwell/Jayden Broderick. Whitwell/Broderick barely beat Jack Foster/Amanda Hendry, 12-10 in the third, and then somehow beat Jardim/Yates Johnson 11-8 in the third. This is not a good sign for Yates Johnson, especially if they can’t come through the backdraw to make something happen. One question we would have is whether Jardim is not healthy after a poor showing in singles yesterday.
8:00 pm EST – Barr/Nunnery are into Championship Sunday, their first together. This is what we expected when this team partnered together earlier this year and they are both putting it together. Nunnery is getting more reps and Barr has just been a monster in mixed, which is probably her best event. They beat Truong/Daescu, 8 and 5, and Barr streamed that match on her Facebook page. Truong/Daescu were able to get by Whitwell/Brodercik, 11-7 in the third, so it was not as easy a match as we might have expected. Broderick might also be pretty good but neither of us really know anything about him.
In the loser’s bracket, Jardim/Yates Johnson have a terrible day, losing 15-13 to Fudge/Cincola in their first loser’s bracket match, while Fudge/Cincola go on to lose to Hunter/Parris, 15-7. The Broderick thing is interesting as he and Whitwell went on to lose 15-4 to Rane/Klinger. It is a long day for the aging Lee Whitwell, but Broderick could be a guy to monitor.
10:20 pm EST – Parris Todd and Hunter Johnson with another sub-par performance today as they lose in the bronze to Truong and Daescu, 11-7 in the third. It will be so interesting to see what happens to Todd if she plays MLP. Her stock has to be big time down and it’s hard to say what would happen when she’s losing to Challenger players on the regular with a guy who is on the fringe of Premier. Speaking of Hunter Johnson, where does he sit? There’s a lot more pickleball to happen before the draft in July. And what more to say about Daescu? He keeps winning with different partners as Truong gets her first mixed opportunity on Sunday.
Thursday, May 11th – Singles
10:33 am EST – We know there is now a way to look at a more updated entrants list, which we forgot to do this time around. Parris Todd is not in the singles bracket so any Gritty fantasy win if it happens will carry an asterisk. Parris not playing well in singles these days and now not in the draw at all. It opens the door for Salome to have gold, although Simone is lurking in the semi-final for her. Then the rest of the women’s field there are medals to be had.
On the men’s side, nothing too crazy with the draw. Hunter and Yates are on opposites sides and there’s the rest of the players. No guarantee of silver and gold here, but that’s the best bet. Of note is Roscoe Bellamy, son of top senior pro Beth Bellamy, making his pro debt this weekend. He has gotten out of the singles qualifier and taken down Grant Bond 4 and 4 in round 1.
2:00 pm EST – An early surprise-ish on the women’s side with Simone Jardim getting wiped by Amanda Hendry, 1 and 0. The loss in itself is not a major upset but Simone losing so badly is after she showed out well at the last event in singles. Hendry got smoked by Devidze in the winners semi. Jenna Hessert interestingly played a tight 2 game match to win over Mari Humberg and will get Alix Truong in the next round.
Roscoe Bellamy with a very strong singles showing on the men’s side. Getting past FAD in 3 and then losing to Yates Johnson in 3. The talent might be real. Yates is playing William Sobek while Jack Foster gets a very good win against Medina Alvarez. Foster and Medina Alvarez have seen a bunch of each other in 2023. Foster will now play Hunter Johnson. Foster had a good win against Ross Whittaker earlier too.
6:08 pm EST – William Sobek has had such an uptick in his results these days. He beat Yates Johnson and then must have been inches from beating Hunter, losing 12-10 in the third. He’s playing Yates in the bronze, who has grinded back to that match, but what more can you say about William Sobek’s play of late. He’s beastly right now.
On the women’s side, no surprise that Salome has cruised to the gold. She’ll play Jenna Hessert who has had a great day, beating Troung in the semis and then beating Amanda Hendry in 3 games for the bronze. This looks like Salome’s for the taking but a big result for Hessert with the Parris Todd dropout.
7:34 pm EST – William Sobek’s run falls short of the Sunday. That bronze match is punishing in singles for the loser as Sobek played a grueling winners final and then somehow had enough in the tank to push Yates Johnson to 3 games in the bronze. All but one of Sobek’s matches today were best of 3 and even that one was tight at 8 and 9. It shows how hard the fitness is in Naples when Sobek cramped up. He’s clearly in great shape. Roscoe Bellamy and Jack Foster both had good runs on the day.
Curious what Mari Humberg’s singles game is like as she sliced a lot of backhands at US Open in doubles but had a good day today. Shannon Pretorius also had a nice run almost getting a bronze. Have no idea who she is.