Minto US Open Live Blog – Singles Day – April 18, 2021
US Open preview week has been a big one here at NML Pickleball. We’re going to be watching a lot of pickleball over the next week so we might as well live blog it. Drop a comment or interact with us on Facebook.
7:44 pm EST (Gritty) – To piggy back off of Slim’s comments, it was clear the Franklin ball created a different game. We didn’t get to see much of the top end game with no live streaming of center court from Pickleball Channel so we were only seeing pieces of other parts of the draw (we both really enjoy that). Gabriel Joseph beating Zane is less surprising after you see how hard it is to pass with that Franklin. Good for him too as he’s been close to a breakthrough since the first PPA in Mesa in 2020.
It was incredibly impressive seeing the way Ben did a complete 180 on his strategy early in the 2nd set to play all the cat and mouse with Tyson. Tyson can’t keep up in cat and mouse with Ben, especially with where his energy dipped to later in the 2nd. All credit to the unquestioned top player in Pickleball and adjusting to the slower Franklin ball.
It was weird seeing all the pre-tournament withdrawals too. Dekel Bar, Colin Johns and Vivienne David were all podium contenders who decided not to play. The US Open does not feature back-to-back days so we were both surprised by the late withdrawals. Despite no back-to-backs, the trend of the loser’s draw withdrawal in pro pickleball continued today. Tyler Loong was expected as I noted below but Simone Jardim withdrawing after a surprising loss in the main draw is bad for the sport. She’s likely going to win three more gold medals and I think it’s not good when one of the key ambassadors for the sport chooses to withdraw to keep themselves fresh. I’m assuming she isn’t hurt. If I am, egg on my face I guess?
7:25 PM EST (Slim) – In a day that was full of upsets and surprises, Ben Johns was not about to join the club, as he beat Tyson in 3 games to take gold. It was interesting watching the singles as the soft Franklin ball lead to a lot more cat and mouse play, which I think was beneficial for Tyson, until he reached the gold, where Ben is just too dominant in the cat and mouse game, but give Tyson credit for battling. Tyson also has to be happy with the result after a slow start to his singles season.
6:50 PM EST (Slim) – Irina takes gold in the women’s in three over Lea Jansen in a final I don’t think anyone would have predicted. Gabe Joseph handled AJ Koller easily in the men’s bronze. If Gabe played most of the tour events, you do wonder if he could become a consistent podium presence. And despite a disappointing game in the bronze, it was a great day for AJ.
4:49 EST (Gritty) – Baby K and AJ Koller in the bronze. More upsets on the men’s side. The Baby K result is not out of the blue but the AJ Koller result is shocking. He is arguably the best unknown player out there (maybe not anymore) with his nonchalant style and youth is not on his side for the singles game.
3:50 pm EST (Gritty) – First off, it’s terrible they are streaming the men’s senior pro over either of their marquee semi-final men’s matchups. Second, we do end up getting the Tyson McGuffin / Johns matchup. Slim said to me that he thought the Franklin slower pace would favor Tyson against Zane’s serve particularly and I suspect that it did even though I couldn’t watch the match. I also just noticed that Colin Johns dropped out today and it continues to strike me as odd he doesn’t play singles at all.
3:08 pm EST (Gritty) – It shouldn’t be surprising that Juan Arraya has strong results in singles but at 44 it’s still impressive regardless of the fact that he is (was? was he ever?) the #1 ranked Padel player in the world.
2:37 pm EST (Gritty) – Death, taxes and Tyler Loong forfeiting in the loser’s side of a singles field.
2:16 pm EST (Gritty) – Anna Leigh just took down Catherine in 3 sets. The only thing I got right about this women’s singles field is Anna Leigh as a sneaky podium finisher. She has too much talent and youth is on her side. She got a very big break with Simone withdrawing from the back draw (always a weak move assuming she is not hurt btw). Still, beating Parenteau who I thought was solidified as the #2 singles player is very impressive.
2:12 pm EST (Gritty) – the men’s side is very different than the women’s today. It’s all going as planned still. Baby K also taking Ben to 3 sets. He’s still the only one I see outside of the top 4 in the semi-finals I see that could get on the podium. It’s still a long road through that back draw though.
1:13 pm EST (Gritty) – April Madness at US Open in women’s singles! No back draw with an Irina Tereschenko and Lea Jansen gold medal match. This shocks me and I think I would put my money on Jansen for this one. I have doubted Jansen with recent results but she beat Tereschenko the last time they played one another.
12:30 PM EST (Slim) – I think Gritty is going to have a big update on it but a huge win for Lea Jansen over Catherine Parenteau, looks like Lea is finally making the leap. Also I had forgotten how annoying it was having to search the different forums trying to find random streams, it really makes me else miss the APP events and the consistent streaming of multiple courts all day.
12:07 PM EST (Slim) – I am actually a little curious to see the Gabe Joseph vs Ben Johns match, Gabe is one of the talented players out there. I am curious to why no Dekel Bar or Collin Johns today? That was a devastating start to my day in fantasy
11:53 am EST (Gritty) – Everything has been going as planned on the men’s side. Ben usually comes out unfocused but I’m surprised in a no back draw format that he played 3 tight sets against AJ Koller. Koller gets solid results but I wonder if that softer Franklin ball helps against him.
10:28 am EST (Gritty) – The draw changed in the morning so no Anna Leigh vs. Simone matchup. She had a close 2nd set against Christee Chargot, which isn’t too promising. Michelle Esquivel was beatdown by Lea Jansen almost solidfying Esquivel as my worst fantasy draft pick (update: this was initially shown as an 11-3, 11-0 win but now shows retirement. Esquivel also posted on her fb page that she strained her calf. Tough timing for the vet).
12:23 am EST (Gritty) – Draws are out. The big thing about the US Open is that there is no way through the back draw. That means being on Ben Johns’ half of the draw is devastating and Jay Devilliers has that honor. Jay is almost certainly looking at a bronze on his best day with this draw. I’m looking forward to the Tyson / Zane matchup on the bottom half of the draw. On the women’s side, an Anna Leigh Waters / Simone match up could be interesting but otherwise it should be pretty chalk.
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