APP Tour Plantation Open – Live Random Thoughts

We have new partnerships and players who aren’t at a lot of these tournaments like the Kawamoto’s this weekend. Of course, Anna Bright is back in the spotlight after her week long media tour. We’ll give our thoughts as the weekend progresses. You can check out our fantasy draft preview here too.

Sunday, March 6th – Singles

5:30 pm EST (Gritty) – Parris Todd was a takeaway for us a couple of weeks ago and she showed Bright is not the only newcomer we should watch out for. Todd beat Bright 15-13 and then played Jorja Johnson tight in 3. Like so many women, if Todd can figure out how to come to the net it’ll make a huge difference. She’s already very good. But Jorja was too much and she is also showing what she can do. Jorja will remain a staple at the top of podiums this year at these APPs.

This has to be a bit humbling for Bright. We’ll have more in takeaways but after such a hyped weekend that we here at NML played some part in, it’s not easy to bring that high level every week.

3:32 pm EST (Gritty) – JW in singles at the APP’s might become a cake walk. He handled Zane with ease again. Frazier gets a nice bronze with a win over Foster as we are in a rain delay.

Jorja is on fire today taking down Megan Fudge easily. Fudge had a tight win against Parris Todd and beat Jorja last week. Don’t count out the kid!

1:08 pm EST (Gritty) – Humbling weekend so far for Anna. She loses to Jorja easily and it looked like the “veteran” Jorja handled the win a lot better as Anna also did not come up to the net at all in that match either really. We’ll see how the backdraw goes before going too snap judgement-y for the second week in a row.

Zane and JW will play the winners bracket final – JW is up and appearing to be on his way to another win. In the backdraw, Foster with a couple of tight 16-14 wins over Cincola and Neumann. William Sobek is also having a fine day as he beat last week’s bronze medalist Gabe Tardio. Consistency in pro pickleball is tough.

10:30 am EST (Gritty) – Early noteworthy result is Cincola losing to newcomer Federico Staksrud 11-7, 11-8. Fed is a former college tennis guy who has had some impressive early results on the pro scene including wins over Jack Foster and Rafa Hewett as well as taking a game off JW last weekend. Another impressive win spin serve and all againsg Cincola

Saturday, March 5th – Doubles

8:17 pm EST (Gritty) – Outside of a 1 game blip in their first match, the Kawamoto’s were absolutely dominant today as they cruised 2 and 2 in the gold. Easy to forget how good they are and a team needs real weapons to get past them as they are otherwise too steady.

This is Gehrke’s second APP podium. I was fact checked on this.

JW and Dylan get back with a gold. They get 2 and then 15-5. This is where their steadiness is helpful with no panic. It seems like it can be a double edged sword for them but they do stay the course as a pair. Worked out today.

5:00 pm EST (Gritty) – A couple of somewhat surprise old guard bronzez. Podium Joey Farias is back with two bronzes in a row! In all honesty, put Joey with someone steady and not Jeff Warnick, you have something there. On the women’s side, is that Gehrke’s first pro podium? Someone fact check that but that’s a big day for Gehrke and Padegimaite. Neither bronze match was close though, not surprisingly.

2:55 pm EST (Gritty) – I thought it might be a bit closer but Kawamoto’s were too much for Johnson/Whitwell. When they show up to tourneys, they are #good. On the back side, Bright/Hendry are downed by Padegimaite/Gehrke. Tough to figure anything from this but not an ideal doubles showing for Bright.

Daescu/Navratil pulled it out against the kids. A bit surprising but like the Kawamoto’s when Daescu shows up he is #good.

1:48 pm EST (Gritty) – Tough day for Austin and Chuck going down 16-14 in their first losers match. That’s a surprisingly bad result for this first time partnership. Close matches in the losses but ultimately it’s an 0-2 day. Daescu and Navratil are into the winners final along with JW and Dylan who rolled through their matches. Travis and Ryler are not quite ready for that level.

I think Gabe Tardio needs more respect from us. He and William Sobek took down John Cincola and Johnny Goldberg 15-3 as Goldberg’s stock is not high coming off patnernity leave. Maybe the Napa wine tripping wasn’t great for pickle.

Anna and Amanda had a solid match against Lee and Jorja but they were overmatched. That’ll be an expected winners final there. We’ll monitor Bright through the backdraw.

11:27 am EST (Gritty) It’s another crazy windy day in Plantation, which really does change the dynamic of things. Nevertheless, the results are the results. Rettenmaier/DeHeart get another upset and it probably won’t be long before we have to stop calling these upsets. They get a squeaker by Gridley/Taylor 12-10 in the third. Those two are going to make you work and there’s nowhere you can go to get out to win free points. Another guy who is getting pro wins against real teams is Stefan Auvergne as he and Brendan Long get Tardio/Sobek in 3 then they take down Merchant/Farias 8 and 8.

On the women’s side, the Kawamoto’s are through with a 3 game win over Oshiro/Rane. Milan Rane is likely underrated for her level and it’s not a surprise to see them give the Kawamoto’s some trouble. Hendry/Bright got a very favorable draw as they are easily into the semi-finals where they will likely face Whitwell/Johnson.

Friday, March 4th – Mixed

7:05 pm EST (Gritty) – A lot of close matches today. We’ll start with the gold where Frazier/Jardim were cruising as they were up 11-2 and 9-2 in the second before a huge run from JW/Lee got it back to 10-10. This was buoyed at 9-10 by another classic Lee Whitwell Erne fault. I think it’s about time we sort this out and call her for a fault for running through the kitchen. The madness has to stop! But anyway, good gold for Jardim/Frazier as they were very close to being sent to the bronze match down 9-6 in the third against Kawamoto/Navratil, who had a nailbiter of a day themselves. 

Whitwell/JW barely made it through the kids Jorja Johnson/Gabe Tardio 17-15 before getting some revenge on Kawamoto/Zane. Jackie and Zane smoked Lee/JW in the semis and Lee/JW didn’t quite roll through them, but they did return the favor. A solid day for all of the podium teams and exactly how I expected it to go heading into the day. 

3:10 pm EST (Gritty) – So we have our semi-final set with Frazier/Jardim to take on Kawamoto and Zane. I was surprised that Jackie and Zane rolled through Lee/JW after the first part of game 1 was played so closely. These days are so close from being really good and really bad as we mention ad nauseum. Zane/Jackie were down 9-4 and on the verge of going to hte loser’s bracket. Now they are guaranteed a bronze. Frazier/Jardim continue their strong run with a fairly tight 2-gamer against Jorja Johnson/Gabe Tardio. Simone may not be the same but she’s still a strong mixed player. 

Anna Bright had a short day and again close to a big upset becomes a short day in the backdraw. They lost to Cincola/Charity and you wonder whether Cincola’s serve was something different to see for the pair. Did not see Anna’s matches but there is clearly still work to do. Mixed dobles is the toughest probably for a player like Bright as she has acknowledged herself. 

12:00pm  EST (Gritty) – Alright, so the Kawamoto/Navratil vs. Bright/Krishnaswamy match was a pure battle. Kawamoto/Navratil were down a game and 9-4 in the second where they apparently held out for numerous side outs before rattling off 7 straight points for the win. That’s gotta hurt for Bright/Krishnaswamy. Like, really gotta hurt. Not surprised at all that was a battle, but sounds like experienced prevailed there. 

On the bottom side of the draw, Whitwell/JW had a battle of their own against the up and coming marital duo of Fudge/DeHeart. They won in 3 games as well. Neither of us drafted Fudge/DeHeart, but those two are getting a lot of attention for good reason. Lee/JW are our consensus #2 mixed team for the day so that’s an impressive loss. No moral victories though… 

10:00 am EST (Gritty) – Brutal draw for Zane and Jackie Kawamoto as they’ll get Bright and Krishnaswamy in their first match. I had those teams back to back in rankings so it’s a tough spot to be for them. That is one I’d like to watch.

10 thoughts on “APP Tour Plantation Open – Live Random Thoughts

  • March 5, 2022 at 1:21 pm

    “This was buoyed at 9-10 by another classic Lee Whitwell Erne fault. I think it’s about time we sort this out and call her for a fault for running through the kitchen. The madness has to stop!”

    How, though? Always bring a second ref in for all her games?

    No joke, I was watching her do another one just now in WD while reading this post.

    It’s weird how she does this so often, knows she does this, and yet everyone rushes to defend her and say it’s not “intentional”, and pearl clutches at the idea that it’s bad sportsmanship. There’s got to be some… duty of care if you want to be considered a good sport. Just because she doesn’t pitch a fit when she’s called on it does not a good sport make.

    • March 5, 2022 at 2:35 pm

      There’s nothing wrong with running through the kitchen. She does it a lot to set up her Erne. Sometimes she’ll establish both feet outside the line and sometimes not. At 8-10, she was preparing for an Erne and clearly was on the line with left foot. But in that case JW hit the ball. So no fault. Later, she does the same – trying to establish to hit the Erne. It looks like her left foot cleared the line before contact with ball but the right foot never landed to re-establish. So that gave them 9. The commentator who went on and on about it may have had a better view than Ref Ron. But even then timing would have been critical. Because if her right foot had landed before contact, she would have been in the clear from what I saw in the video. It’s tough on refs because they know they don’t catch all of them even when watching closely as Ron was here.

      • March 5, 2022 at 2:44 pm

        I think if you slow it down the only times she doesn’t fault is when she is close to the sideline. If she’s not close to the sideline, she has to run through and most of the time she does not establish both feet. Personally, I think the ref has to know whenever she moves if she is not close to the sideline and she hits it, automatic call. She has lost the benefit of the doubt. And 2 refs might be the answer, but she basically prays she doesn’t get called at this point it feels like

  • March 6, 2022 at 7:40 am

    “It’s tough on refs because they know they don’t catch all of them even when watching closely as Ron was here.” Oh, I definitely get it, I don’t blame the refs.

    That does raise an interesting question, though. If there’s a violation that’s so tough to call that it gets missed often even with excellent refs, even when committed by people that everyone knows flagrantly do it often, is the only solution a rule change? I don’t mean “outlaw Ernes” or “make the kitchen 3d instead of 2d”, but maybe add Erne violations to the list of things that can be challenged via video at the pro level.

    As much as Whitwell’s behavior annoys me, I think targeted attention from refs depending on the player is actually a bad solution and slippery slope. I think it’d be better to come up with a more universal solution (she’s not the only one who does it, that’s for sure!).

    • March 7, 2022 at 8:44 am

      That’s a good point. I think Erne on a video replay is a great solution. This is far easier to see on video than any line call with current technology. Like the idea a lot!

      • March 7, 2022 at 11:17 am

        I personally think that targeting certain players like Lee is actually what needs to happen. Most players erne by jumping. There are a couple who do it by running through. Lee is the prominent one, Matt Wright is another who has done it without reestablishing. Point is, as a ref, you need to know if there is an area you need to pay extra attention to to call a fair game. When you ref James Harden you have to watch for travels and kickouts for example. With teams who stack you need to pay extra care to their positions. With Lee Whitwell, you know she’s going to erne fault a lot, so you have to watch her feet whenever there is a shot to the backhand of the player across from her, bc she’s going for it. Looking at the ball takes you away from her feet and looking after she hits obviously doesn’t cut it. That’s how I would approach reffing Lee Whitwell

        • March 7, 2022 at 11:21 am

          Well said, couldn’t agree more

          • March 7, 2022 at 5:40 pm

            Fair point as well. I think you do have to know players’ tendencies in all of this. Analgous to other sports for sure

        • March 10, 2022 at 6:01 pm

          I don’t disagree, do long as you’re targeting the behavior and not the person. If they brought a ref onto court for *everyone* who typically runs through an erne, great. A better way to say what I meant originally is that extra scrutiny is okay so long as it is applied uniformly and consistently… and I’m not sure if the insular and cliquey PB world is capable of that.

          • March 10, 2022 at 6:02 pm

            “so long as”, I mean

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