APP Tour Mesa Open and PPA Tour National Championship – Live Random Thoughts

We have the last two tournaments of the year for both tours on the same weekend. Somehow that seems fitting with the tour wars full steam ahead. We get repeat names too. Mesa Open #1 was held back in January and #2 is obviously the same location (Mesa, AZ). PPA Championship #1 was held in October in Las Vegas and #2, the National Championship, is now in Orlando. With this being a tier 1 APP, Thursday is the kick-off day for both days with Championship Sundays all around.

Sunday, December 4th – Championship Sunday

10:37 pm EST – Fun day today despite a lack of upsets. Not a lot that was surprising. Ben and AL triple crown, JW double dipped, Jorja took gold, APP favorites in doubles all won. We’ll have lots in our takeaways tomorrow, probably more than 5. Cannot believe the year is over for tournaments. Thanks all for following along!

8:15 pm EST (Waggish) – MS: Staksrud vs JW. JW is the one coming from the loser’s bracket. He lost to Hunter Johnson in the winner’s bracket then beat him in the bronze. So if JW is to win gold, he has to play a tie-breaker. Players were closely matched. 7-11, 13-11 11-8. In the tie-breaker, Staksrud couldn’t cleanly execute his shots. JW had 9 before Staksrud got his first point. JW got upset with himself about going for a ball that was clearly going to be out. He let Staksrud get 3 points before calling a time-out 6-11. But the time-out doesn’t help and Staksrud gets to 9 before a side-out. A run like that is going to energize you and Staksrud is now putting up a fight. But JW keeps the lead and wins gold 15-10. Someone was coaching JW during the time-outs. Anyone know who that was?

6:32 pm EST (Waggish) – Johnson/Bar vs Staksrud/Taylor. Congrats to both Staksrud and Taylor for making it to a gold medal match. Game 1 Dekel dominated. 11-2. Game 2 Lauren and Daniel(?) kept saying nice things about Staksrud and Taylor so we wouldn’t feel bad for them. 11-4 Dekel and JW.

5:52 pm EST (Waggish) – MXD: Simone Jardim/Dylan Frazier defeat Jorja Johnson/DJ Young in 2 (7,4). Very odd scheduling by the APP. Simone and Jorja finished their WD. Instead of showing a MD or MS, we wait about 30 minutes to see Simone and Jorja again in MXD. Jorja didn’t have much left and was making a lot of mistakes. Remember she had a 4 game singles match before her WD. Now we get MD and two of those players will then play MS. Like I said, odd scheduling choices. It has happened on rare occasions in the PPA where the same player was in 3 consecutive matches.
APP Seniors Pro Mixed was cancelled due to rain.

4:25 pm EST (Waggish) – Triple crown for Ben and AL after their single wins. Ben over Sherry 11-1,11-3 (CORRECTED). AL over Devidze 11-2,11-2. PPA now does 2/3 for singles because Ben and AL are so often going for triple crowns.

APP WS: Jorja Johnson over Mary Brascia 7-11,11-8,5-11,15-8. This one had to go to a tie-breaker.
APP WD: Simone/Jorja over Susannah Barr/Etta Wright in 2 (7,7). Jorja will also be going for a triple crown today.

2:15 pm EST (Waggish) – MXD: Waters/Johns 11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 11-5. Well done by Riley to push it to a 4rth game. But until he finds a MXD partner with offense as good as AL, silver will be his color against this team.

1:03 pm EST (Waggish) – Not as long of a history of gold matches in MXD between Waters/Johns and Parenteau/Newman. So far Waters/Johns have won all of them:
Red Rock, UT
Peachtree Classic, Atlanta
Texas Open
But let’s not forget Nationals where Waters/Newman handily won against Parenteau/Johns.
Parenteau/Newman have won 3 golds against Kovalova/Wright (100% of the time).
We’ll see if Parenteau has picked up anything from playing with AL that will help them here.

12:50 pm EST (Waggish) – PPA WD: Lea dominates in game 1 for huge win 11-2. AL seems to be getting a lot of coaching between games and it works. They get the early lead. AL and Lea didn’t like the decision from Stanley in game 2 at 1-4. Lea hit an ATP that went long then called AL’s ball that she had returned out. Stanley rightly said the call was too late. Lea takes a time-out clearly upset. Then same thing happened with AL at 1-5. But AL doesn’t get upset that she made a late call and plays on. At 6-10, AL calls a ball out that is challenged. Announcers seemed to think AL was using her time-out to challenge her own call but I didn’t see anything on the stream to indicate it. Stanley asked if Jackie and Lea were challenging AL’s call and they said yes. Video review showed it out. They get the side-out and win 11-6. Game 3: AL and Catherine get a very fast 5 points and keep that momentum all the way to the win 11-3. Game 4 starts the same way with an early 5-0 lead for AL and Catherine and win match 11-6. Not a completely smooth start for this new partnership but it’s working enough that we’ll probably see more in 2023.

APP is in rain delay.

11:45 am EST – To add to the commentary from Waggish below, that game 1 in the slower Orlando conditions was key for Ben and Collin mentally. Check out Ben initiating some talk with Riley after game 1 with Collin getting in on it too. Ben seemed a little more aggressive speeding up and they moved the dinks off the middle a bit more. They clearly wanted this one. As Dave Benz said, “the Collin’s Brothers” win.

11:29 am EST (Waggish) – In gold medal matches between Johns and Newman/Wright, the history is:
1. Johns Desert Ridge, Phoenix
2. Johns Grand Slam Phoenix
3. Johns Austin, TX
4. Johns US Open
5. Newman/Wright Atlanta Open
6. Newman/Wright TOC
7. Johns Peachtree, Atlanta
8. Newman/Wright Las Vegas Championship
9. Johns N2Grate, DC
10. Johns Texas Open
11. Newman/Wright Takeya Newport Beach
12. Johns Orlando Championship

In game 1, both teams had multiple opportunities at game point and kept tying it up. We get a 14-12 finish for the Johns. It was a great game. Game 2 was anticlimatic with a 11-5 finish. In game 3, Newman/Wright dug themselves out of a hole to tie it at 6-6. Ben did an incredible erne at 7-7 by timing it when Riley must have thought he’d let the ball bounce. Ben timed his move when the ball was balancing on the net. Johns win match 11-7. Today Ben’s hands were better than Riley’s and his athleticism is always better than Matt’s. Let’s hope Dave Fleming can tone his love fest with Ben down in the other 2 matches Ben plays today.

WD is next. Jansen has 2 gold medals in WD this year, 1 at PPA, 1 at US Open. Both with Parenteau. Jackie has 1 with her sister at the APP in Plantation, FL.

9:50 am EST (Waggish) – Streaming will start around 10 for the PPA and around 12 for the APP ET. PPA has posted it’ll be MD, WD, MXD, MS, WS. So the epic rivalry will start in a few minutes! APP hasn’t posted their full schedule. They have to finish the MD bracket. Then may do the MD gold first per their last post. As time allows, I’ll throw some history in for the teams/players.

Saturday, December 3rd – Doubles

9:00 pm EST – Barr/Wright are in the gold after an abbreviated game to 15. They win easily against the Brascia’s 15-4, who beat Lina/Vivienne in impressive fashion. It’s a strong bronze for the Brascia’s as they continue to show they are a legitimate team to be reckoned with. Great showing for Barr and Wright as well as they both played well espexially considering they had sat for hours and had to get warmed up quickly.

Callie and Lucy finally pull out a podium. 13-11 and 11-3 over Parris/Irina. Thinking about the fact that they beat Parri/Irina twice today but lost to Etta/Irina, it speaks volumes about Etta and her ability to be a dominant player. Parris may end up being more of a right side type player with her countering ability. She doesn’t profile as a left sider the way Etta is showing she can be. Etta already has the best one-hand backhand roll in the game and the power and angles she creates is top notch. At this early stage in her career, Etta could be a top 5 doubles player quickly here.

7:40 pm EST – Long day in Mesa with the rain delays. They are finishing the women’s bracket up and the men’s backdraw will finish tomorrow. Vivienne and Lina came back from an 8-1 deficit to beat Stratman/Koop. Good win and rough loss as Stratman struggled in the 2nd half of that one while Lina settled in after a tough start.

At the PPA, Jay Devilliers showing Loong who the real bronze stallion is. Jay and Tyson beat Koller/Loong in the bronze, 6 and 4, which feels like a let down score for Koller and Loong. Irina and Parris are playing Callie/Lucy for bronze so that’s another strong weekend for Irina regardess of result. Callie and Lucy, on the other hand, may be relieved to get into something fresh in 2023, assuming that is the case.

6:35 pm EST (Waggish) – JW and Dekel make it into Championship Sunday 11-5, 10-12,11-8 over Auvergne/Navratil. JW and Dekel won’t know who they will play until Sunday. APP will finish the backdraw and bronze for MD on Sunday.

6:15 pm EST (Waggish) – You gotta love WD when it’s one firefight after another. Parenteau/Waters vs Bright/Irvine are trading bullets to see who can outgun the other. It looks like they are trying to keep Waters across from Bright most of the time. They switch Parenteau to left-side as needed. The game point fight had each side taking several swipes at it with first try at 10-8 for Bright/Irvine. Eventually, Bright/Irvine take it 13-11. Game 2 8-2 for Catherine and AL before Bright/Irvine get some momentum to get to 6. Game 2 for Catherine and AL 11-6. Best match of the day and we get a game 3! Bright/Irvine come out firing and keep the pressure on Parenteau/Waters. They get the lead 8-3. But AL and Catherine always have plenty of fight and they tie it up 9-9! Then game point and win 11-9. Incredible to see a second major comeback from them! Well done by all players. This match is an entire highlight reel.

5:50 pm EST (Waggish) – The APP has resumed. Game 2 of Auvergne/Navratil vs Patriquin/Tellez took forever to get that 2 point lead for game point. At 13-13, Tellez gets a fault for serving before ref had fully called the score. Auvergne/Navratil win 11-5, 15-13 which gets them to the winner bracket final against Johnson/Bar.
In WD Jardim/Johnson over Barr/Wright in 2 (0,4). Don’t know who they’ll play in Gold on Sunday as there is quite a backlog in the backdraw with the rain delay.

5:00 pm EST (Waggish) – What a clinic put on by Jackie Kawamoto! She showed how to precisely place your shots and maintain your composure and steadiness through-out a match. Her style is probably the least flashy of any of the top women players. But you don’t need flashiness when you can execute like she did. Welcome to Championship Sunday, Jackie! Lucy gets her second exit of the week-end from the winner’s bracket. Kawamoto/Jansen over Kovalova/Smith 11-6, 11-7.

4:00 pm EST (Waggish) – Not much to say about the Johns/Johns vs Devilliers/McGuffin match. Johns team wins 11-2, 11-6. Newman/Wright vs Koller/Loong game 1 was close most of the game. Newman/Wright win 11-9. Game 2, Kooler/Loong take an early lead 5-0. Long rally at 5-3 in game 2 followed by a long dink rally. Then a pair of highlight ernies by Loong at 6-5, 6-6 really make it fun. The erne where Loong had to run up from the baseline was amazing. Newman/Wright win 11-7 but great fight by Kooler/Loong. We get a deja vu Championship Sunday in MD.

In the back-draw, Dawson/Stone beat Dow/Ignatowich 15-6 but were defeated by Devilliers/McGuffin 15-5 for their entry into bronze. Tardio/Rettenmeir will play Koller/Loong for entry into bronze.

WD: Kovalova/Smith defeat Tereschenko/Todd 11-7, 14-12. That 14-12 looks like it was a good one.

APP is in a rain delay.

1:50 pm EST (Waggish) – APP WD: Susannah Barr and Etta Wright take game 1 off Stratman and Koop 11-9. But game 2 goes to Stratman/Koop 11-8. Game 3 goes to Barr/Wright almost entirely due to Wright. 11-7.

As usual it’s the PPA that brings us CONTROVERSY: Parenteau/Waters vs Dizon/Jones: Dizon/Jones had substantial lead all of game 2. Meghan relentlessly attacked. AL calls Meghan’s ATP out at 10-3. It looks like it was on the line in replay. AL’s view was possibly blocked by Catherine at the time of the bounce so an honest mistake IF there was one [meaning if a bad call]. It did look like the ball was going to be out until the replay. Ref said she couldn’t overrule. At time-out, Jones has a long discussion with the ref. The score is 10-4 so Jones doesn’t need that distraction. But distraction it proves to be as Parenteau/Waters eventually get to 10 to tie it up! And then win 12-10 in one of the most unbelievable comebacks in WD. They saved 5 game points. 11-3, 12-10.

1:05 pm EST (Waggish) – APP MD: Johnson/Bar vs Arnold/Hewett didn’t give us much of a match. Johnson/Bar in 2( 4,5). They were switched on like I’ve seldom seen together. I see Ken in the background watching. Why doesn’t Lauren get him in the booth to discuss the state of the tour wars. It’d be interesting chat!

PPA MD back-draw: Smith/Wilson suffer defeat by Dawson/Stone 15-10. Dow/Ignatowich will battle against Farias-Siljestrom and the winner then gets Dawson/Stone. Smith/Alshon get a close one over Deaken/Newell 15-12.

12:30 pm EST (Waggish) – APP streaming will start momentarily (?). In WD, Jardim/Johnson defeat Brascia sisters 13-11, 11-5 to get to the winners bracket final.

Big news in APP MD: #2 Young/Frazier get knocked down to back-draw by #7 Patriquin/Tellez in 2 (7,8). Auvergne/Navratil had a weird match against McMakin/AAnik Lohani 11-1, 10-12, 11-1. Arnold/Hewett have a good win over Staksrud/Chuck Taylor 8-11,3,5. They face Johnson/Bar which looks like it’ll be the first match up on streaming.

12:20 pm EST (Waggish) – Greg Dow/James Ignatowich defeated by Koller/Loong (4,8). Koller/Loong make a strong team. Loong did his athletic ernies and Koller maintained his steadiness and placement flicks. Koller did well with a strong partner on the right. When he plays with Wilson, they switch it up a lot which probably doesn’t do either of them any good as neither is a true right side player. At the time-out, we see Selkirk coach Morgan Evans coaching Selkirk sponsored player Ignatowich. James also sporting a different color paddle today – red and black instead of the white one he used the prior 2 days. I can’t tell if it’s the exact same model. Koller/Loong now face a tough challenge with Newman/Wright so we’ll see if having 2 forehands in the middle gets them over the #2 team. Newman/Wright will make them cover a lot more court than Dow/Ignatowich and force them to longer rallies.

11:45 am EST (Waggish) – Dawson/Stone fall to Tardio/Rettenmaier in 2 (8,4) who then fall to Devilliers/McGuffin (1,6-11,4). Devilliers/McGuffin face Johns/Johns in the semis after Johns defeated Alshon/Spencer Smith (1,9). Alshon/Smith were making a comeback in game 2 but ran out of time.

11:30 am EST (Waggish) – Smith/Wilson vs Newman/Wright. Smith/Wilson led game 1 8-3 before Newman got his head in the game and they win 11-8. Smith/Wilson led game 2 7-2 but another comeback from Newman/Wright give them the match 11-9. Several highlight reels during points 9-6 and 9-7 in game 2. But the teams got stuck on 9-7 a while so you’ll have to find the rallies or watch until the score changes. Late in game 2, some unfortunate out balls by Wilson kept them at 9. I don’t think his idea was bad because it could have won them the rally both times.

11:25 am EST – Some early stuff here. Dow/Ignatowich were almost ousted early by Farias/Silijestrom, 2-11, 11-8 and 11-2, and then beat Deakin and Newell in 2. Don’t forget that name, Andreas Silijestrom, a 6’9 beast of a former ATP player who has played a small handful of tourneys.

Scott Doerner is another name to monitor as he has shown up at the last couple of tourneys with some strong results. In Mesa, he and Zach Grabovic beat the Johnson twins in 3 before losing a super tight 2-gamer, 12-10 and 11-9, to Tellez/Patriquin.

Sarah Burr has had an interesting weekend. She’s been travelling around the US for a while from Australia with improving results from all the high end play. Burr and Gaytan-Leach took a game off Stratman/Koop and Burr had a number of strong wins in mixed yesterday. The Brascia’s also took down Vivienne and Lina in 3, 11-9 in the third, which is a really good win. Maggie and Mary makong their case for Premier League status at MLP.

8:00 am EST (Waggish) – APP has a 7:30 local start for both MD and WD. 35 teams in MD. Today we have JW and Dekel, Dylan and DJ, and Stefan Auvergne/Navratil, Arnold/Hewett, Staksrud/Chuck Taylor as the top 5 seeds with the top 3 getting byes.

16 teams in APP WD. Top 5 seeds are Stratman/Koop, Simone and Jorja Johnson, #3 Padegimaite,Lina-David,Vivienne #4 Barr/Etta Wright, #5 Schneemann,Lacy-Whitwell,Lee. The Brascia sisters are #6 and I would have put them at #5.

PPA MD has a 8:00 local start and WD has a 10:45 start. 33 teams in MD. Top 5: Johns/Johns, Newman/Wright, Koller/Loong, #4 Devilliers/McGuffin, #5 Dawson/Wyatt Stone. The only bye is Johns brothers. It’ll be interesting to see Koller/Loong play together. Thomas Wilson is palling up with Patrick Smith.

18 teams in PPA WD. Top 5: Kovalova/Smith, Parenteau/Waters, Bright/Irvine, #4 Jansen/Jackie Kawamoto, #5 Brooke Buckner/Glauka Carvajal Lane. Parris Todd is playing with Irina Tereschenko. They are rated #8 and probably should be the real #5. Bright/Irvine are in the same half as Parenteau/Waters so that’ll be the best match of the day in this bracket. Irina and Parris could upset Lucy/Callie in the quarters.

3:00 am EST – Sometimes you’re up late looking at a draw and you wonder whether Riley Newman gets tired of getting the stacked end of men’s doubles draws while Ben Johns continues to see relatively cupcake draws. Anything can happen, of course, but the only team of note in the Johns’ half of the draw are Jay/Tyson. Sure, those guys finally beat Ben and Collin at Nationals, but it had been 4 years for Tyson since he had beaten Ben in men’s doubles. On the other hand, Riley/Matt have Loong/Koller, Smith/Wilson and Dow/Ignatowich in their half of the draw. Matt and Riley have had a lot of close calls at PPAs. Are they finally due for a loss in a main draw?

Friday, December 2nd – Mixed

8:00 pm EST – As is often the case with the mixed days, a bit more chalky as the days go along to a certain degree. The biggest story for us amidst the top seeds making the gold medal matches is Maggie Brascia and Hayden Patriquin. The summer feels like a while ago but it’s easy to forget that they double dipped Anna Bright and DJ Young twice at the thin Sacramento field. Today, they end up with bronze after two wins against Barr/Navratil, Yates Johnson/David, Wright/Fought and took Jardim/Frazier to the brink in the semi-finals. We can take an L when we are wrong and that L is with Maggie Brascia. You still watch her and kind of wonder how the heck she holds up, but she is legitimately good. The results are undeniable at this point. They gave a good fight in game 2 to Johnson/Young, who found their way out of trouble all day, but they are in Championship Sunday. Dekel in mixed continues to be an issue. Outside the final four in this APP field with Andrea Koop. What to do with Dekel at MLP?

At the PPA, it is the top 2 seeds finding their way pretty easily to the gold match – AL/Ben vs. Catherine/Riley. What we have been seeing is the struggle of Jay/Jessie to find a podium as they go another event without a medal to finish the year. Callie/AJ also lost out, 17-15, in the backdraw. We expect these two partnerships cannot be continuing into 2023 considering their overall results, especially to conclude the year. Tyler Loong is the real bronze stallion. He picks up a bronze with Anna Bright (their first medal together possibly?) over Jackie Kawamoto/James Ignatowich, who come away with a solid 4th place finish. Loong/Bright made a big run in the backdraw, including the 17-15 win over AJ/Callie.

7:45 pm EST (Waggish) – APP Senior Pro Doubles results are:
Gold: Kara Williams / Takako Tourangeau 11-7,11-8,15-12
Silver: Jennifer Dawson / Cammy MacGregor
Bronze: Eva Welsher / Helen Wilhelm 4-11,8-11

Gold: Scott Moore / Scott Crandall 12-10,11-9
Silver: Rick Witsken / Jose Derisi
Bronze: Dave Weinbach / Dayne Gingrich 8-11,13-11,8-11

7:30 pm EST ( Waggish) – We now know why PPA streamed back-draw and bronze. There’s an exhibition match tonight. With minimal wait time since last match, Kawamoto/Ignatowich were still hot and win game 1 11-7. Neither made many unforced errors. But a warmed up Anna Bright is a dangerous bullet and Bright/Loong win game 2 11-3 and game 3 11-4. I didn’t watch the APP bronze because I was watching the PPA. Johnson/Young win it in 2: 11-4, 11-8. I guess the almost no wait time for the bronze didn’t work as well for Brascia/Patriquin. So we get a double-dip Sunday for Johnson/Young.

6:50 pm EST (Waggish) – Kawamoto/Ignatowich fought their way through the back-draw taking down Jones/Smith, Todd/McGuffin, and finally Irvine/Devilliers (15-9) to get to the bronze match against Bright/Loong. Bright/Loong defeated Smith/Koller, Dizon/Dawson, and finally Jansen/Wilson (15-10) to make it to bronze. Will Loong be the bronze stallion today?

6:40 pm EST (Waggish) – APP: Wow! Brascia/Patriquin continue to impress. They were down 3-9 against Barr/Navratil and came back to win it 15-11! Patriquin was able to see every opportunity and he aggressively took advantage without loss of control. They will fight Johnson/Young next and I expect that one to go to 3 games like all Johnson/Young matches except their first.

6:17 pm EST (Waggish) – APP: #1 Jardim/Frazier vs #3 Johnson/Young easy wins 11-3. But Johnson/Young have shown they like to push to 3 games. So they take game 2 11-9. Jardim/Frazier take game 3 11-7 for chance at gold on Sunday.

5:55 pm EST (Waggish) – APP backdraw: Brascia/Patriquin defeat Etta Wright/Todd Fought 15-9 for a second go at Barr/Navratil for entry into Bronze. They beat them the first time. Johnson/Young continue pushing to 3 games.

PPA: #2 Parenteau/Newman vs #6 Jansen/Wilson easy game 1 win 11-3, then had to fight for the second game win 11-6. Only the semis into bronze then bronze are left. Update: The streaming does continue for the back-draw!

5:07 pm EST (Waggish) – As you would expect Waters/Johns make it into Championship Sunday. What you would not expect is the close second game against Irvine/Devilliers who ultimately won 11-9! Game 3 was Johns all the way 11-1.

APP: Barr/Navratil vs Koop/Bar back-draw. Barr/Navratil had 8-0 before Koop/Bar made their first point. But MXD continues to not be Dekel’s game and they lose 4-15.

4:55 pm EST (Waggish) – #1 seed Jardim/Frazier vs #12 seed Brascia/Patriquin ultimately win but those were close games. 9-11, 11-6, 11-9. That third game could easily have been an upset win for Brascia/Patriquin. Jardim/Frazier face Johnson/Young in the winner’s bracket final to see who gets entry into Championship Sunday.

4:15 pm EST (Waggish) – Lea Jansen/Thomas Wilson vs Jackie Kawamoto/James Ignatowich. The first thing you notice is that Thomas is sporting a Selkirk Power Air/Labs (I can never tell the difference on TV) instead of his Electrum. Lea is playing with a Joola so her contract with Franklin must have ended. (She alluded to something about Franklin in a recent podcast). Joola and Selkirk dominate the PPA. Jansen/Wilson game 1: 11-8. But game 2 was a different story with complete domination from Ignatowich 11-1. Game 3: Jansen stepped up her game after being down 0-5. Together Jansen/Wilson were able to keep the ball in play to extend the rallies long enough to win the point. But Kawamoto/Ignatowich get to match point first after falling behind 10-5. But Jansen/Wilson struggle, fight, claw and get the 13-11 win. They face Parenteau/Newman in semis. This may be the closest Ignatowich has gotten to the semis so well done by him in MXD. Though also a disappointment for him to be up twice and lose in third. Meanwhile, a very tight, long match in APP with Jardim/Frazier vs Brascia/Patriquin.

3:33 pm EST (Waggish) – APP: Johnson/Young vs Koop/Bar in semis: 6-11, 11-8, 11-3 to get to winner’s bracket final. Koop/Bar sent way too many balls to Young in game 3. Young owned that middle.

3:00 pm EST (Waggish) – PPA Smith/Koller vs Irvine/Devilliers: It looks like Koller’s Gold with Koop at Takeya Showcase has toned down Callie a bit with fewer yells and fist pumps. 11-5 for them. Game 2 Irvine/Devilliers lead 9-0 before Smith/Koller get their first point. But the train starts rolling and they get 6 in a row before a time-out called by opponents breaks their momentum and side-out. 7-11. Game 3 had an even start but eventually Irvine/Devilliers make it into the semis with 11-5. I really hope Koller finds a partner in 2023 more suited to his style. I even found myself wondering if Koller and Newman should just switch partners. In the back-draw, Kovalova/Wright lose to #8 seed Allyce Jones/Spencer Smith 15-12.

APP: #12 Maggie Brascia/Hayden Patriquin vs #4 Barr/Navratil: 11-8, 11-9. Game 2 was close all the way through. Navratil completely left his side open on game point. Johnson/Young lose their first game against Koop/Bar 6-11.

2:10 pm EST (Waggish) – Thanks to Chris in the comments for pointing out the #3 seed Kovalova/Wright got taken down by the #30 seed Bobbi Oshiro/Brendon Long 11-8,6-11,11-9. It was Kovalova/Wright’s first game so they will have a very long haul in the back-draw unless they lose quickly again. Then Oshiro/Long lose their next game against Kawamoto/Ignatowich in 3: 11-13, 12-10, 11-3. They face Jansen/Wilson in their quarters. In APP, Barr/Navratil lose their first game to Brascia/Patriquin 8-11.

1:50 pm EST (Waggish) – APP Stratman/Arnold vs Johnson/Young: Stratman/Arnold wins first game 11-5. Game 2: It took 6-7 tries at game point but Johnson/Young win it 13-11. Game 3 was close with 1 point leads until Stratman/Arnold pulled ahead with their aggression and mainly targeting Jorja. DJ could have been more aggressive with his poaching. His rhythm wasn’t there when he had his chances. But the fight was still there and eventually Young pulls them ahead and they win 11-8.

PPA: Parenteau/Newman vs Todd/McGuffin. First game was a blow out 11-1 for Newman team. It was clear Newman wanted to get into firefights and he sped up the ball as often as he could. Todd stayed back off the line possibly due to those attacks. Game 2, Todd was more ready for those attacks and gave back as good as she got. Todd/McGuffin led early 6-1 and kept up the pressure and aggression to win 11-3. In game 3, Riley went back to his game 1 mode and they win 11-2.

1:00 pm EST (Waggish) – We are into the quarters. Waters/Johns vs Newell/Newell (11-0 first game), Smith/Koller vs Irvine/Devilliers, Jansen/Wilson vs TBD. Todd/McGuffin vs Parenteau/Newman (streams next).

APP: Jardim/Frazier vs McGrath/Hewett, Barr/Navratil vs TBD, Johnson/Young vs Stratman/Arnold streaming now and Stratman/Arnold wins first game 11-5, Burr/McMakin vs Koop/Bar.

10:45 am EST – There normally is not much to talk about this early in a day with only first round matches completed, even with two tournaments, but we have some interesting early results. In Mesa, Lee Whitwell and Hunter Johnson lost 11-5 and 11-9 to the Australian, Sarah Burr, and Ky McMakin (aka the Pickleball Cowboy). The Johnson’s singles games have been flourishing but they still come up with some bad losses in doubles together as well as in mixed apparently. Yates Johnson is playing with Vivienne David today so let’s see how that goes. 

In Orlando, Parris Todd and Tyson McGuffin barely squeaked by Regina Franco Goldberg and Christian Alshon, 9-11, 11-9, 12-10. Considering the limitations of Regina, that’s an impressive result and a match we would have loved to see. These singles tennis guys can get dangerous in mixed very quickly. Another close match win came from Shelby Bates/Jake Kusmider, winning 12-10 in the third over Deakin/Brooke Buckner. Shelby Bates and Brooke Buckner are both in that late draftable range for MLP.

9:10 am EST (Waggish) – APP has a whopping 34 teams in MXD today. But the shocker is JW is not one of them! Jorja is playing with DJ. Simone is playing with Dylan. Another of JW’s past partners, Lee Whitwell, is playing with Hunter. This may be Hunter’s first MXD as he usually doesn’t play mixed. Yates Hunter is playing with Vivienne David for the second time. Dekel and Koop have teamed up again and are the #2 seed. MXD starts at 8 am local which will be 10 EST.

Not to be outdone, PPA has 37 teams chomping to test their mettle with the top pros. Waters/Johns will face the #32 or #33 seed in their first round. The partners are the usual. Thomas Wilson is playing with Lea Jansen. Tyson is once again paired with Parris Todd. They did well their first time out. Scarpa found a partner with Salome Devidze but Dow did not. PPA start is 9:30 EST which seems late for such a big draw. And means we’ll have to wait a bit for the stream of the quarter-finals matches of presumably the top seeds. It could be a late night for the bronze teams whose male players will have to be ready the next morning for an 8:00 am start.

Thursday, December 1 – Singles

12:28 am EST – To note the bronze matches, Tyson rolled Jay, 11-1 and 11-1. He may be renting some space in Jay’s head these days. Lea beat Irina in 3.

Mary Brascia is back in the gold after a win against Lina. Smaller field but west coast Mary is a dangerous Mary.

7:02 pm EST – Let’s start with the biggest news of the day. Ryan Sherry, back to a Championship Sunday. Clean living does not work for everyone and Sherry is crediting his 71, not 72 hour bender over the Thanksgiving weekend to give him the mental training edge. Sherry looks good compared to what he was in North Carolina and he played lights out against Tyson McGuffin. There are few players who have the array of shots that Sherry possesses in singles. He beat Tyson 7 and 9 en route to his second Championship Sunday of the year to face Ben Johns. Sherry had a pretty good draw going into today, but he also benefitted from optimal timing for his matches with plenty of rest before his semi-final match against McGuffin. A rested Sherry is a scary Sherry. 

On the PPA women’s side, we will have Anna Leigh Waters and Salome Devidze facing off after Salome got by Parenteau 12-10, 11-9. Devidze clearly hooked Parenteau on a call in game 1 to tie it up at 10-10 and Parenteau subsequently attempted to hook Devidze a couple of points later, but was overruled by one of the refs. A weird set of circumstances that allowed Devidze to complete a big game 1 comeback and ultimately win against Parenteau again. Tereschenko is playing against Jansen for the bronze right now. 

At the APP Mesa Open, Federico Staksrud is onto Championship Sunday. It’s been a while! Federico had a great run beating Arnold and Hunter Johnson en route to the gold match. He’ll have to face a different opponent, JW Johnson, who was able to avenge his earlier loss to Hunter Johnson in the bronze, 11-6 and 11-4. You have to wonder if Hunter lost a little steam at the end of the day with that hurt ankle that might not be 100%. Julian Arnold lost 15-3 to JW in the match to go to bronze. 

It’s a singles day of finally’s for a lot of these players. Jorja Johnson is in a singles gold medal match, beating Lina Padegimaite and Mary Brascia, both in 3 games, on her way there. Brascia and Padegimaite are playing in the bronze right now. 

Random note from the PPA was a giant run for Austin Tchikatilov in the backdraw. He has won 6 matches in the backdraw including over Jack Foster and FAD to set up a matchup with Tyson McGuffin to go to the bronze. James Ignatowich beat Christian Alshon 15-6, Kusmider 15-12 before losing to Jay Devilliers, who will play for bronze. The bronze stallion! 

4:10 pm EST (Waggish) PPA McGuffin beats Ignatowich in 3. I wonder how many Selkirk models James has tried. He seems to get a lot of mishits with that Power Air or Labs (not sure which one he uses). APP Staksrud beats Julian Arnold in 3. Arnold lost some of his fieryness and fight in game 3. Staksrud plays Hunter in the winner bracket final. Paul Olin was 2 and out but kudos to him to test himself in the under 50 crowd. PPA WS Waters easily beats Jansen 11-2, 11-2.

2:49 pm EST (Waggish) PPA MS Close game 1 in Loong vs Johns. 12-10. But game 2 was all Ben 11-2. Tyler gave Ben the game he likes in singles: cat and mouse.

PPA WS semis what you would expect: Parenteau vs Devidze, Waters vs Jansen

APP MS JW vs Hunter. JW couldn’t get underneath the ball and hit quite a few into the net to lose game 2. Game 3 JW looked easy to read with his shots. It looked like it might go the way of game 2. Hunter’s balls were just out of his reach. JW kept stretching/cracking his neck so maybe he couldn’t move easily. After the side change, JW picked up some energy. But Hunter had his number and wins. 7-11, 11-2, 11-5.

1:15 pm EST (Waggish) – On the APP side, Hunter and Dylan play each other but it won’t get streaming. JW will play the winner of that match.

PPA: Tyler Loong plays Ben Johns but that is not currently scheduled for streaming. Remember, Loong has beaten Johns before. Tyson plays Ignatowich. Ryan Sherry is waiting for the winner of that match. Tyson and Jay are on opposite sides of the bracket so we won’t get to see a serve-fest. But with the PPA rule change, Jay won’t be pushing the boundaries a second time.

11:25 am EST (Waggish) – PPA MS: Alshon vs Loong went to 3 games with a tight 3rd game. Alshon led 9-5 when Loong caught fire. Loong made some wise placement shots that had Alshon on the run most of the time. At 9-9, Alshon did a full split to get to the ball but it went wide. At 10-9, Loong did an incredible backhand flip from the baseline with his back to the net which ultimately led to him winning the game point. 11-6, 6-11, 11-9.

1:40 am EST (Waggish) – For singles day, we’ll see how serious Tyson is. In his most recent podcast, he said he expects to own Championship Sunday in 2023. But we are not there yet so will he be a slacker? Tyson doesn’t know the meaning of the word! Per Tyson, he did everything right on his last Championship Sunday and felt excellent for his chances to beat Ben two times in a row. Just goes to show how you can’t control all the circumstances. It was one reason he got frustrated enough to quietly break his paddle over his knee. Of course, what we really want to see is Tyson vs Jay and how are those serves going for you today? And which fan is going to yell out at the worst possible time? Anyone have a drunk buddy in the stands?

Over on the APP side, we’ll be watching the ever changing spin of the wheel between JW, Hunter, Staksrud, Arnold and Frazier. And Paul Olin wants a taste of that young blood too!

Watch as many hours as you can to carry you over the dry spell until January! (Though, lest we forget, there is that enterteamment debut in Las Vegas).

27 thoughts on “APP Tour Mesa Open and PPA Tour National Championship – Live Random Thoughts

  • December 1, 2022 at 4:24 pm

    There is a chance of a triple crown for the Johnson family. Julie Johnson plays senior pro singles on Sunday. But Jennifer Dawson is in the mix and she’s going to be tough to beat.

    • December 1, 2022 at 4:25 pm

      *triple in Singles since JW and Jorja are both playing for Gold on Sunday.

    • December 5, 2022 at 12:49 pm

      Total NML coverage of senior pro events:

      “APP Seniors Pro Mixed was cancelled due to rain.”

      “There is a chance of a triple crown for the Johnson family. Julie Johnson plays senior pro singles on Sunday. But Jennifer Dawson is in the mix and she’s going to be tough to beat.”

      The Dink at least publishes the senior pro results, so us geezers may have to go there for the love.

      • December 5, 2022 at 2:20 pm

        True. We don’t do much with seniors. I did give the senior WD and MD results on the day they played. Please do a search for seniors to find that list. I would have given the MXD results if it had not been cancelled. Please keep an eye out for my post for senior medal counts for 2022 PLUS their podium $$ winnings!. It’ll be out sometime in the next 2 weeks. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

        • December 5, 2022 at 2:40 pm

          Thanks for reply. Sorry I missed your posting of the senior WD and MD results.

          I will be interested in reading your future post about 2022 senior medal counts and podium $$. If you can break that out by APP/PPA/USAP events, all the better. I am curious about, among other things, how much $ Weinbach makes compared to Dayne and others who eschew PPA events. (Assume you will post $ figures for amounts won, as opposed to amounts owed, given the PPA penchant to pay slowly.)

  • December 1, 2022 at 5:36 pm

    Hunter vs JW: Hunter was hurting in the match and took several time-outs to try to stretch/rub/work out whatever the kink was in his hip or top of his thigh. Hunter fell at match point in the game against Staksrud so maybe he injured something then. He should have borrowed JW’s Yobow between games.

  • December 2, 2022 at 10:15 am

    So no mention of Matt and Lucy getting knocked out first round??

    • December 2, 2022 at 11:13 am

      Sorry. I got busy watching and didn’t look at brackets. That is a big loss for one and a big win for the other.

  • December 3, 2022 at 10:45 am

    If Riley is tired of being on the losing side of the draw, the only options are to upgrade his partner, or to upgrade himself so much that he starts winning with his existing partner.

    Since he’s at worst the #2 doubles player, upgrading his skill enough to move the needle is a big ask. He’s pushing 30, thus his high level of athleticism is probably only going down from here, so it has to be improvement from skill increase, and since he’s already so skilled, that takes a massive increase in effort for incremental gains — might not be possible for him to become so much better that he and Matt are winning 70% against the Johns’ vs losing 70% of the time (or whatever the exact %age is).

    So that leaves trading Matt. He and Matt have really good chemistry, lots of competition together under their belts, and Matt is an excellent doubles player, so there aren’t a lot of humans on the planet who would represent an upgrade.

    All to say that probably Riley is stuck in his situation. Ben / Anna & Ben / Colin appear solid, and while those teams exist, there’s no combinations that appear able to consistently defeat them.

    Perhaps, however, a change of paradigm will open up an option not previously available. That is, obviously, MLP. His MLP team (assuming he’s on board with that) might be able to win consistently, so we’ll have to see how that plays out.

    • December 5, 2022 at 7:42 pm

      i am def interested to see who jw plays with in 2023.
      same for ALW
      same for Riley. Because Riles is not one to sit around if he doesn’t think he has a “winning hand”.

  • December 3, 2022 at 2:30 pm

    I’m not sure if I saw it right because I was multi tasking but it seemed like the ref screwed up and called a foot fault on Anna Bright at 10-10 when the ball had actually bounced. They replayed the point but it amazingly seemed to go unnoticed by the commentators who actually praised the call and then the officials in general. Am I crazy or did this happen?

    • December 3, 2022 at 2:50 pm

      No. I think you got it right. It’s what I saw and heard too.

  • December 3, 2022 at 11:01 pm

    A one handed backhand roll is so helpful and I would even say crucial. Callie Smith for example would improve by leaps in my opinion if she knew how to roll backhands instead of baby them with her little tennis strokes. Lea Jansen I think has the best one hand backhand firm, then maybe Etta Wright after.

    • December 4, 2022 at 2:59 pm

      Callie seems to have reached a plateau. It’ll be awesome if she can add new skills to widen her shot selections.

    • December 4, 2022 at 6:43 pm

      yes the gals have figured out that CS is limited on the backhand side. 🙂

    • December 4, 2022 at 2:57 pm

      DWS: Thank you for catching my mistake. I’ve corrected it.

  • December 4, 2022 at 6:41 pm

    if you look closely you will see that Riley did not tap paddles with Collin. And Collin was also jawing at Riley as they walked off. I think it’s actually a beef between Riles and CJ.

    • December 4, 2022 at 7:32 pm

      It happened twice. At the end of the match, Colin appeared to look to tap paddles with Riley, but Riley, after shaking hands with Ben, immediately stormed off the court in a huff. Poor sportsmanship, no question about it, especially considering Riley called an obviously good ball out, and got caught in the video challenge.

      Anyone is tracking which players calls have the highest %age of being overturned? I remember Riley getting into a similar situation in the singles finals of the 2021 AZ Open against Gabriel Joseph on a hotly contested call, but there was no video review at that event. And of course the ending of the epic MXD point against Koller/Koop in Newport. Suffice it to say Riley falls more on the Salome Devidze side of line calls rather than the Ben Johns side of line calls.

      After the first game, Colin extended his hand to Riley (33:01 in the Youtube video), but Riley ignored him, tapped paddles with Ben, and left the court. As they four men were leaving the court, there was definite talking between Colin and Riley. After the 2nd game, Riley stuck his paddle over the net while looking at Matt, the Johns brothers tapped it, and Riley walked off (around 56:36 in the YT video).

      But beefs between excellent players make for the best sports rivalries, and there is no other rivalry in pickleball even close to this one for the time being.

      • December 4, 2022 at 8:14 pm

        Couldn’t disagree more. Riley, and his sister are extremely fair in their line calling. One of the few partnerships that will actually overturn each other’s calls. In fact, I would say they are known for it. I would bet money if you polled every pro player on tour they would agree that Riley is always fair on his calls. Of course there will be a few he gets wrong, just like every other player, but never intentional.

      • December 5, 2022 at 6:59 am

        “Suffice it to say Riley falls more on the Salome Devidze side of line calls rather than the Ben Johns side of line calls.”

        Huh? Yesterday AL and BJ challenged a call Riley made that was clearly out, and lost. It was a cheap Hail Mary challenge.

  • December 4, 2022 at 8:00 pm

    There were so many off of the court storylines being played out today and the PPA announcers tip-toed around them all day. WHY???? The fact the CP and Lea were facing off for gold today after a messy and pretty public break-up was WAY more of an interesting story to me, but the only story line the announcers want to focus on was “will ALW get a triple crown”. At this point, who cares???? Then we have Riley and Matt vs Collin and his brother. Please have someone on the court listening to what they are saying who can share it with us!!!! Or better yet, have the commentators be quiet for two seconds and turn up the court mics! I am dying to know what was being said between those two between games! The commentators add nothing of interest, they just narrate what I can clearly see for myself. It’s infuriating at this point. It’s like it’s a contest between the two of them to see which one loves the Johns and ALW more. How about the fact that Riley is knocking on the door to take the number 1 spot, making it to Champion Sunday with CP when Ben couldn’t? So many story lines have been building throughout the year but the PPA insists on ignoring them. Which partnerships will still be together next year? Is this the last time we will see Riley and CP play together (as Riley’s number 1 fan I certainly hope so)? Just seems like such a missed opportunity by the tour to add interest to what can be described as a boring and stale championship Sunday.

    • December 5, 2022 at 4:22 am

      One Pro player has said PPA wants them to create some excitement on the court. So attitude is fine with them with staredowns, gestures, and trash talk. But I agree they muzzle their announcers and in fact seem to go to the opposite extreme where every other sentence is “best player in the world”. Maybe they get paid $100 everytime they say it.

      Riley is more aggressive this year calling lines out. Maybe he feels he needs to be in the changing landscape of pro play where you can’t give away free points. Or influenced by playing with Matt. JW and Jorja are the most generous in not calling balls out and we’ll have to watch if that changes.

      Riley has a long history with Ben. I trust he has his reasons for any animosity. Interesting that Collin is now part of that. I guess Collin doesn’t like being used as a body bag.

    • December 29, 2022 at 2:00 am

      Ignoring line calls, Riley is a sore loser and a terrible sport in general. Sure, competing at the highest level is intense and people who are extremely competitive can have their emotions get the better of them. But that applies to everybody on the pro circuit. But it’s only Riley that has outbursts like “HE HAS NO BACKHAND!” and “I HAVE ZERO RESPECT FOR YOU!”, and refusing to touch paddles after losing. He’s a great pickleball player – but I just don’t understand how anybody would want to be his “number 1 fan”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *