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.