We’ll try to keep you up with updates and thoughts throughout the weekend on the action going on. It might not be as present as we have been in the past, but we’ll do what we can. For those who are unaware, which we presume is most of you, MLP is making more tweaks to their rules as they try to dial in what works best. MLP is listening and should be commended for being unafraid to make alterations.
There’s an article on the Dink you can read for the full breakdown but we’ll highlight a few of them in the introduction here. (1) Teams now have 3 free challenges and an extra free challenge if the match goes to a Dreambreaker. Note that referees will now be reviewing challenges solely based on video evidence and the “call on the court” is irrelevant to the final decision. (2) The coin toss will now include choices for (i) starting a match with men’s or women’s doubles, (ii) end, (iii) serve/receive and (iv) act/react for mixed doubles. In addition, end changes will now alternate after each game. (3) There will be paddle testing for deflection at MLP. There are no penalties for paddles that test over the established average deflection force (ADF) threshold of 50 that is the baseline following initial PPL paddle testing from Daytona. MLP won’t be publicizing if any paddles are taken out of play.
Monday, June 19th – Super Finals
2:40 am EST – We will have takeaways for you after the Super Finals tonight. In the meantime, we have another Ben Johns victory in Premier and he’ll have a chance at another one tonight. He’s playing at a different level than the rest of the pickleball world and it’s more impressive he is doing it in this team setting outside of his usual partnerships. Going undefeated is special and he was the no brainer MVP choice with our vote.
Ben will be in a good spot to build his team the way he wants yet again for season 2, should he play, along with Anna Leigh. It was a bit of a shame we didn’t get any head to head matchups with them, but it was clear that they both impact winning significantly. Picking either player seems like a good choice in hindsight, and that will be the case at next month
8:10 pm EST (Waggish) – Challenger Super Finals: Chicago Slice def. Bay Area Breakers (3-2) – Viewer count showed > 2000. YT missing some of the beginning. WD: Breakers Vivian Glozman/Ewa Radzikowska vs Slice Susannah Barr/ Emily Ackerman. Slice had 16 at the freeze but got within 1 before Breakers win (19).
MD: Breakers: Christain Alshon/Pablo Tellez vs Slice Connor Garnett / Ryler DeHeart. Very tight 2nd half from 11 with ties from MD underdogs Slice but never quite got a good lead. But they got to the freeze 20-19 then get the win (21-19).
MXD #1: Slice Barr/Garnett vs Breakers Glozman/Alshon. Slice has a good lead going into the second half 11-6. From 16-8, 3 errors in a row from Garnett get Breakers to 11. From the freeze at 15, Breakers make it to 19. Slice win 21-19.
MXD #2: Slice Ackerman/DeHeart vs Breakers Radzikowska/Tellez. Slice lead 11-9 at end-change but Breakers were picking up momentum. They get the lead at 16-15. Breakers keep the pressure going leading to errors from Slice. Breakers win 21-18.
Dreambreaker line-up: Alshon vs Garnett, Tellez vs DeHeart, Radzikowska vs Ackerman, Glozman vs Barr. 8-8 at round 2 start. Breakers 17-15 at round 3 start. Garnett gets all 4 to take Slice to 19! DeHeart gets last 2. Slice wins! Congratulations to both teams and all players. Some of these players will be looking good for a premier draft.
10:40 pm EST (Waggish) – Premier Super Finals: Mad Drops def Pioneers 3-0 – WD Pioneers: Dizon/Wright vs Drops: Parenteau/Tereschenko. Drops lead 11-3 at end-change! Pioneers try dinking 13-4 to slow action down and it works for them. Line call lights up Arnold on side-line and we get a challenge 6-13. Ball in so score changes to 14-5. See Irina at 19-6 stretch to reach ball! Drops win 21-6. Wow! A big difference to the 21-18 Pioneers win in a prior match.
MD Pioneers: Johns/Loong vs Drops: Arnold/Wilson. Pioneers lead 11-7. Drops need to put the hammer down, step up the power. They get close at 15-16. Wow see 17-19 rally. I think Loong prepped for an Erne about 10 times but Arnold kept focused cross-court to Ben. Tie at 19! Unbelievable! Drops 21-19!!!!! wOw!
MXD: Pioneers: Wright/Johns vs Drops: Parenteau/Arnold. Drops Owner Drew Brees on the mic. Drops lead 11-8 at end-change. Wright getting sloppy with errors. But Pioneers start to close the gap 12-14. Then Ben takes more of the court and they are close at 15-16. But Catherine and Julian are steady and keep playing well. And Drops win 21-17! What a surprise that they do it in 3! Everyone is on the court celebrating: Owner Brees, Athena, Johnson twins (Hunter filled in for Thomas once). Each Drops team member has earned $60,000. Each Pioneer team member has won $14,000. Update: Thomas Wilson said in post-match interview that he wouldn’t be in the next season (correction: he meant Mad Drops not MLP. He will be playing next season). So happy he goes out a winner with a big payday!
Sunday, June 18th – Premier Semis and Finals
11:08 am EST – One of the more interesting storylines to come from this event has been the resurgence of the kids. Patriquin and Tardio both played poorly at the first MLP and they looked like candidates to be dropped. Patriquin had a better Daytona but not Tardio. However, both players are playing at a different level and their teams are in the semis. If the Mashers make the finals, it will be quite the switch too. Winning sure changed things as Matt and Lucy were cheering for ATX in the final group stage match to ensure a bye.
There haven’t been nearly the same number of Dreambreakers either so far this event. It’s just one of those things that happens but for whatever reason it’s not as high a number. Something to monitor as we got into season 2.
3:40 pm EST (Waggish) – SF #1: Seattle Pioneers def ATX Pickleballers (3-1) – WD: ATX Kawamotos vs Pioneers Etta Wright/Meghan Dizon. Pioneers lead at end-change 11-7. Kawamotos never once get into a good dinking game. They seem to want to overpower Wright/Dizon. Kawamotos at least need to use more angles, move Dizon and Wright around on that court. The dominating force of Wright/Dizon win (13). MD: ATX JW Johnson/Gabe Tardio vs Pioneers Ben Johns/Tyler Loong. We see some good action from the men at 7-4. ATX lead 11-10 at end-change. It’s neck and neck to the finish! Each point seems to be a highlight reel. Tardio and JW may be playing the best game of their lives. But a few too many errors after 20, get the Pioneers the win 23-21. MXD: ATX Jade Kawamoto/Tardio vs Pioneers Dizon/Loong. ATX lead 11-9 at end-change. It’s seldom you see a big accumulation of points in a close game. But Tardio gets thems from 13-11 all the way to 19-11! He is playing lights out! And Jade is right there holding steady. Frozen (12). Those net dribblers of Tardio are lethal. The freeze allows Pioneers to reach 17. Is ATX playing tight, playing not to lose? Pioneers upped their aggression somewhat. ATX first win (17). MXD: ATX Jackie Kawamoto/JW vs Pioneers Wright/Johns. Great point at 5-10! Pioneers lead 11-6 at end-change. And extend that lead 15-7. Johns and Wright seem unstoppable with very few errors. Jackie under pressure, backing off line, and making forced errors. Pioneers win (12). Despite this loss, good play and results for the ATX at San Clemente. They should all feel confident of the next draft.
5:52 pm EST (Waggish) – SF #2: NJ 5’s def Mashers (3-2) – WD: 5’s AL Waters/Lea Jansen vs Mashers Lucy Kovalova/Callie Smith. When you are having a bad day, that day can be really bad. 5’s stomp all over Mashers (6). MD: 5’s James Ignatowich/Hayden Patriquin vs Mashers Matt Wright/Andrei Daescu. Daescu starts out on left. The 5’s men are on fire and lead 11-8 at end-change but doesn’t prompt the switch to Matt on left. Tied at 15 with plenty of court presence from Matt. So funny that people see its an act in wrestling but take it as real in pickleball. Tied again at 19! Now 1-1 with Mashers MD win (19). MXD #1: 5’s AL/Patriquin vs Mashers Matt/Lucy. Stream shows combined age: 33 to 77! Ouch! Things get feisty. Lucy blows Hayden a kiss on his gift of a long ball. Hayden catches and places it on his cheek. Fast thinking! A few rallies later, Hayden gets blue carded for unsportsmanlike conduct when he exerts a vulgar expletive on his successful put-away. Pioneers win (15) and led through-out. MXD #2: 5’s Jansen/Ignatowich vs Mashers Smith/Daescu. Mashers lead 11-7 at end-change. But 5’s gain on them with some good play by James 12-15. Everyone playing their A+ game the last few points. Mashers force the dreambreaker! (18). Dreambreaker line-up: James vs Andrei, AL vs Callie, Hayden vs Lucy, Lea vs Matt! Smart to put Matt last so match point will be unlikely to depend on him. Round 1 – Mashers scores: Andrei (3), Callie (1), Lucy (1), Matt (1). Round 2 – Mashers scores: Andrei (1), Callie (1), Lucy (2), Matt (2). Round 3 – Mashers scores: Andrei (3). Now 20-16 and AL wins it for them. (21-16). Finals will be what many probably wanted: an AL vs Ben show-down! Finals currently scheduled for 4:30 local time, 7:30 EST.
9:50 pm EST (Waggish) – Finals: Seattle Pioneers def NJ 5’s (3-2) – MD: Pioneers Loong/Johns vs NJ 5’s Ignatowich/Patriquin. On the Scoresheet they have Daescu/Johns instead of Loong/Johns until 5/4. Pioneers take the end-change at 11-10. Good rally at 12-13. James must be hoping for middle confusion with 2 FH in the middle and that’s where he goes. Hayden will do some BH targets. See 18-20, James gets into 1 on 1 firefight with Ben! Well-played close match. Pioneers win 21-19. WD: Pioneers Wright/Dizon vs 5’s Waters/Jansen. Tight first half. Dizon gets caught off-guard by Lea a few times. Pioneers lead 11-10 at end-change. Second half is tight until 5’s manage to pull-away by 4. Etta is choosing to attack AL already at the line while Lea still moving up on her serve, possibly so she doesn’t set up a poach. Dizon’s 3rds need some work. 5’s win (17). MXD #1: Pioneers Dizon/Loong vs 5’s Waters/Patriquin. There are some great points in that first half from Meghan and Tyler. See 10-9 awesome rally as only one example. They lead 11-9 at end-change but exciting play from everyone with AL doing a few shake and bakes. Tied at 13 and 1 point game until 17-18 when AL tries a poach that fails. Wow! See 19-17 point that Hayden took 99% of those returns! Tied again at 19. 5’s win! (19). Hayden was amazing but the aggression from all players with mostly clean play was astounding. Hayden deserves bonus $$$ for stepping up the way he did. Tyler was playing out of his mind too with his suddenly found MXD aggression. MXD #2: Pioneers Johns/Wright vs 5’s Ignatowich/Jansen. Pioneers 11-8 at end-change but it was a close first half once James got his timing under control. Pioneers get the 5 point lead though in 2nd half 15-10. James does a huge jump on his poach at 10-15. Pioneers 21-15. Dreambreaker line-up: Ignatowich vs Johns, AL vs Loong, Patriquin vs Dizon, Jansen vs Wright. 5’s points: Round 1 Ignatowich (1), AL(0), Patriquin(2), Jansen(1). Very poor showing by 5’s who was built for dream-breakers. Round 2 Ignatowich(2), AL(3), Patriquin(2), Jansen(2). 13-19 begins Round 3 Ignatowich (1). Pioneers win (14). Super Finals Monday will be Pioneers vs Mad Drops at 6 local time, 9 EST on ESPN2. Challenger is at 3/6 EST on ESPN2.
Saturday, June 17th – Premier Group Stage and Playoffs
2:41 am EST – Some thoughts before we head into the day. The margins can be so thin in MLP for the short games and events, but quite a bit of what was expected has come to fruition. The Mashers, Hustlers and Hard Eights are in a dog fight for the playoffs following the Matt Wright change that has changed everything for the Mashers. Seattle is on top and we’ll see if the Mad Drops can take down Vegas. Frisco is bad. The biggest Premier surprise might be BLQK at 0-2, but maybe they are who we initially thought they were? Similarly, the 5’s look like a wagon and maybe they are now who we thought they were initially? ATX a Dreambreaker maven team was not expected.
Challenger stuff has more volatility, which is not surprising given the lower level. AZ had a playoff surprise and DC finally overcame their lack of luck with an improved Querrey to give a scare to Dallas. It also is not easy to win every time. Glozman has talent but couldn’t push the Breakers past the Slice a second time. The Slice finally breaking through and they have to be favored over Dallas with their mix of veteran steadiness and youthful upside. Fun stuff all weekend.
8:15 am EST (Waggish) – Challenger Finals will be at 2:00 pm local time, 5:00 pm EST. Dallas vs Chicago Slice. That’s a big turnaround for Dallas. In Mesa, they were 1-2. That was with Gecheva, French, Fudge, Taylor. In Daytona, they went 3-2 with DLR in for Taylor and Braverman in for Fudge. San Clemente they are 4-0 with Newell in for French. Slice’s Garnett and DeHeart have been a formidable duo.
Premier Group play starts at 10:00 am local time on CC, GS, and court 3. NY Hustlers vs Mashers might be the closest match. NJ 5’s have been running over every one. QF are scheduled for 4 pm CC court only.
1:00 pm EST (Waggish) – So how popular are the group play matches and Challenger QF and SF? Our friend Jack Olmsted over at Digital Pickleball Network has posted youtube links with most viewed counts over on his facebook page. Challenger QF on GS had only 91 views, Challenger QF on CC had 185. Challenger SF on CC was 221, and on GS 111. Pioneers vs Mad Drops on CC had 852 views. The most views were the 5’s against St Louis Shock on CC with 1.5K. BLQK Bears vs ATX had decent number at 689. Most other matches were 100-200 views.
2:45 pm EST (Waggish) – Mashers def. NY Hustlers (3-1) – WD Hustlers Bright/Schneemann lose to Mashers Kovalova/Smith (18). MD Hustlers McGuffin/Hewett vs Mashers Daescu/Wright. Despite Wright doing a good job on the left yesterday, he’s on the right today. But they switch after the end-change lead by Hustlers 11-8. Hustlers Rafa constant aggression towards Daescu gets them the win 21-18. MXD #1 Mashers Kovalova/Wright vs Schneemann/McGuffin. Mashers 11-9 at end-change. Mashers win 21-16. Game point was when McGuffin got called on a foot fault. Mashers didn’t ice out McGuffin by any means and they still handily won. MXD #2: Hustlers Bright/Hewett vs Mashers C.Smith/Daescu. 11-3 at end-change for Mashers. Mashers (15). Brilliant to get Matt on Mashers!
3:15 pm EST (Waggish) – ATX Pickleballers def. NJ5s (3-2) (CC) – MD The 5’s Ignatowich/Patriquin vs ATX Tardio/Johnson. 5’s lead 11-6 at end-change. Johnson’s flick has found the net a few times. Small sample size but I liked how Tardio filled the right side role with JW. Tardio needs to learn not to speed-up cross-court unless it’s a play to set-up JW for the counter-attack (it’ not). From 14-10, ATX makes a move and narrow it down to 16-14. A speed-up by JW gets them to 18-19. And aggression from JW ties at 19! Tardio having difficulty with speed-ups and attacks from Ignatowich but they hang in until 5’s string the 2 points together to win at 25-23. WD 5’s Lea and AL vs ATX Kawamoto’s. ATX lead 11-10 at end change! See the Kawamotos at 11-13! Fantastic defense until they could take the offense. AL playing the Ben Johns role as if she’s playing MXD when down 13-19. ATX win 21-14! Lea no where near the bench after that match. MXD: Tardio/Jade K. vs Hayden/AL. See the fast hands of Hayden and Gabe at 7-4. 5’s lead 11-6 at end-change. ATX trail 13-8 but slowly grind some points. Tardio and Jade are moving better together and Tardio getting big and aggressive in the middle. They get to within 1 point 14-13. But 5s win (15). MXD #2 Jansen/Ignatowich vs Jackie K/JW. At 2-2, Jansen challenges if ball hit JW’s forearm/elbow. Review shows it did not hit above the hand. ATX leads 11-5 at end-change. JW playing the middle like it’s his golden fiddle. ATX win (15). Dreambreaker! JW vs James, Tardio vs Patriquin, Jade vs AL, Jackie vs Lea. First round Jade 3-1! ATX 11-7 at end-change. JW 4-0 second round and he is really fired up (for JW)! Hayden 3-1. Jade splits. Lea 3-1. So now 17-15 for round 3. JW 4-0 again! 21-15. WOW WOW WOW! And Matt and Lucy are watching and they are just as happy! Maybe Mashers are to play the winners and Matt/Lucy wanted ATX? JW hilarious in the interview “I didn’t know I was going to have to hold entire end of our points but hey that was okay”. (10 of the 21 points). And kudos to Kawamotos going against #1 and #2 Ladies single players and being up for the challenge.
5:10 pm EST (Waggish) – LA Mad Drops def. LV Night Owls (3-1) (CC) – MD Mad Drops J.Arnold/T.Wilson vs Night Owls D.Bar/C.Johns. Tied at 17. Mad Drops win (18). Looks like the Johnson twins were there to cheer Arnold/Wilson on. WD Mad Drops Parenteau/Tereschenko vs Night Owls Irvine/Mary Brascia. Mad Drops lead at end-change 11-7 and win (14). MXD #1 Parenteau/Arnold vs Mary Brascia/Bar. Drops lead 11-5 end-change. Arnold is relentless with his attacks. But Mary and Dekel battle back all the way to 18-20! Still Drops win (18) the third game. MXD #2: Drops Tereschenko/Wilson vs Owls Irvine/C.Johns. Drops 11-7 at end-change. Night Owls creep up and tie at 14. Almost each point gets tied all the way to 21. Jessie had game point but serve bad. Second try at game point and Owls get a win.
Florida Smash def Hard 8’s (3-1) (C3) (422 views) – WD Smash had game point for multiple serves before finally getting that elusive final point (18). MD Smash Yates/Rettenmaier vs 8’s Newman/Koller. 8’s lead 11-7 end-change. Tied at 13 with comeback from Smash! I think only AJ touched the ball during long rally at 17-20 to get to 18-20. Hard 8’s barely win 22-20. MXD #1: 8’s Stratman/Koller vs Smash Rettenmaier/J.Johnson. Smash lead 11-8 end-change. But AJ takes that lead down to 1 at 14-15. And next gets them to 18-20 with his man in the middle attacks. Smash win (18). Newmans vs K.Yates/V.David. Smash small lead at end-change 11-9. It gets tied at 14. And it’ll be a win by a nose with tie at 19. See long rally at 21-20 to tie at 21. Smash win 23-21. We got very close to a dream-breaker. Both Newmans go to net for paddle tap or handshake but Yates/David too busy celebrating and [unintentionally] ignore them.
6:00 pm EST (Waggish) – StL Shock def BLQK Bears (3-1) – In the single Bears win, Bears Staksrud/Frazier def Shock Lange/Devilliers 21-19.
Seattle Pioneers def Frisco Pandas (3-1) – In the single Pandas win, Pandas DJ Young/Yana Grechkina def Tyler Loong/Meghan Dizon.
The 4:00 PST play-off will be 5’s vs Mad Drops. The 6:00 PST play-off will be ATX vs Smash. Pioneers and Mashers have a bye.
6:50 pm EST (Waggish) – Challenger Finals Dallas PC def Chicago Slice (3-1) (756 views) – DPC Christa Gecheva and Jill Braverman defeat Slice Emily Ackerman/S.Barr 21-16. DPC Ben Newell/DeLaRosa defeat Slice Ryler DeHeart/Connor Garnett 2 in a close 21-19 game. MXD #1 Slice Garnettt/S.Barr defeat DPC Gecheva/DLR 21-19. DPC Newell/Braverman defeat Slice DeHeart/Ackerman 21-12. Dallas PC are the champs! Congratulations to them!
9:10 pm EST (Waggish) – QF #1. 5’s def Mad Drops (3-1) (1.6K views) – Read the comments below from Dan on how important this match is to find out not only who plays on Sunday but also Super Monday. Dan has been studying the point system! The winner of this QF play in the SF against the Mashers. MD: 5’s Ignatowich/Patriquin vs Drops Arnold/Wilson. Arnold making some early jitter errors allow 5’s to catch up to them at 4. 5’s lead at end-change 11-9. Tie at 18. 5’s win MD (18). WD 5’s AL/Lea vs Drops Parenteau/Tereschenko. AL getting some points with attacks at Irina. Drops happen to have the lead at end-change 11-9 but so far score has been close. See defense turn into offense by Drops at 11-9 to make it 12-9. Irina is really dialed in now and targeting Lea very well. Lots of speed-ups have allowed the Drops to pull-away 14-9!. 5’s finally get some points off speed-ups to Irina. Drops have let off the gas and even more points by 5’s. Finally freeze at 20-15. Drops win WD despite some sloppy high balls on game point 21-17.
MXD #1: 5’s Jansen/Ignatowich vs Drops Tereschenko/Wilson. Drops 11-9 at end-change. But James bringing the aggression by taking more balls. 5’s get lead at 15-14. James has stepped up his game * 2 before the end-change. Freeze at 20-16. Ties at 20. Horrible to see Wilson/Tereschenko not get to NVZ when James does and controls the point. Some loose errors by Lea keeps the Drops in it though. Irina had a good read at 21-22 for a poach but it goes long. On next serve, 5’s win 23-21. MXD #2: 5’s AL/Patriquin vs Drops Parenteau/Arnold. 5’s lead big at end-change 11-4! Good job by Arnold getting them points. Some of Hayden’s angles are killing it. 5’s win 21-12.
10:40 pm EST (Waggish) – QF #2. ATX Pickleballers def. Florida Smash (3-0) – The winner of this QF play in the SF against the Pioneers. WD ATX Kawamotos vs J.Johnson/V.David Another one that goes down to the wire. ATX Kawamotos win 22-20. MD: ATX JW Johnson/Tardio vs Smash Rettenmaier/Yates. Tardio sometimes forgets to come to NVZ but that I-formation gives JW free reign in the middle – if it works. Smash lead 11-8 at end-change. But there’s a challenge on the foot fault call on JW. Call stands. Ball challenge by ATX at 11-13. But they said challenge denied – not timely? ATX wins MD 21-19. MXD #1: ATX Jade K/Tardio vs Smash J.Johnson/Rettenmaier. Huge lead by ATX at end-change 11-2! Tardio is getting to everything. Tardio making errors and giving away the points. He needs to take a time-out. A good run by Smash to get them close. ATX wins 21-16. The other MXD doesn’t have to play.
Friday, June 16th – Premier Group Stage and Challenger QF/SF
(Waggish) – Premier Group play starts at 10:00 local time. Challenger QF are at 12:00 and SF at 4:00.
2:35 pm EST (Waggish) – SoCal Hard 8’s def. NY Hustlers (3-1) – MLP’s win probability gave a slight edge to Hustlers 51% vs 49%. Hustler win WD 21-17 and they had the slight edge win %. MD Newman/Koller vs McGuffin/Hewett. Win % in favor of 8’s. Riley playing left. At end-change, 8’s had a huge lead 11-3 but it disappeared quickly when they couldn’t do anything on their serves. Hustlers closed the gap within 3 a few times but Hard 8’s win 21-14. MXD #1: Bright/Hewett vs Koller/Stratman. Koller on fire at 2-1! Hustlers lead 11-7 at end-change. Great rally to reach 12-7! Koller getting more aggressive and it gets tied at 12. 17-14 – great dink rally until the speed-up! Hard 8s win the first MXD! 21-15. MXD #2: Newmans vs McGuffin/Schneemann: Riley on right so across from Tyson. Newmans call ball out at 2-1 but Lindsey initially said it was good so can’t change her mind. Riley completely leaving his court open as he plays in Lindsey’s court what seems like 90% of the time. They lead at end-change 11-4. Tyson opening up the court more after the end-change. Newmans win 21-9.
3:05 pm EST (Waggish) – Mashers vs Smash (3-1) – MD Daescu/Wright vs Rettenmaier/Yates. At 12-9, there was a medical time-out from Daescu. Matt looked good playing left. Mashers win 21-18. WD: Kovalova/Smith vs V.David/J.Johnson. Big lead at end change by Mashers 11-3. Mashers 21-15. MXD #1: Wright/Kovalova vs Rettenmaier/J.Johnson. 11-9 for Smash at end-change but quickly ties. Smash win 21-17. Jorja able to hold her own under pressure from Matt and Lucy! Travis kept with their plan and dinked middle. Fun to watch! MXD #2: Daescu/Smith vs Yates/V.David. Mashers lead at end-change 11-8. Mashers win 21-10.
New Jersey 5’s def. BLQK Bears (4-0) – Mens was close at 21-19. MXD with Waters/Patriquin against Mggie Brascia/Frazier was close at 21-18. WD was handily won 21-10 and the other MXD 21-11. Group C hasn’t played yet.
ATX Pickleballers def. St. Louis Shock (3-2) – WD was close at 21-18 and won by Allyce Jones/Jardim Shock over the Kawamotos. Both MXD games were won by the ATX Pickleballers. MD: Lange/Devilliers Shock defeat Tardio/JW 21-15. Dreambreaker goes to 21-15 ATX. JW played against Jay: 2-2, 4-0, 3-1. Tardio went 2-2, 3-1 against Lange.
5:10 pm EST (Waggish) – Seattle Pioneers def. Las Vegas Night Owls (3-1) – WD went to Pioneers 21-19. MD: B.Johns/T.Loong vs C.Johns/D. Bar is a MUST WATCH match. It’s on court 3 so not the best resolution. Ben and Collin were directly across from each other. Collin able to counter Ben’s down the line shots. This game got tied up multiple times including at 19-19! Nail biter! Pioneers 21-19. MXD #1: B.Johns/Etta Wright vs C.Johns/J.Irvine. Collin playing right so again the Johns are across from each other. Collin switches to left at 15-8 but it didn’t make much difference. Pioneers win 21-10. MXD #2 is very close with a tie at 20. Night Owls win 21-19.
LA Mad Drops def. Frisco Pandas (3-1) – MD went down to the wire 22-20. WD was 21-18. Arnold/CP was a blow-out against DJ Young and Yana Grechkina 21-8. Zane and Lina Padegimaite pull out a win against Wilson/ Tereschenko 21-19.
6:10 pm EST (Waggish) – Challenger Play-Offs QF: DC def. AZ Drive (3-1) – AZ Drive won the WD Ansboury/Genie Erokhina vs Bates/Judit Gargallo 22-20. One of the MXD also has a 22-20 finish DC’s Bates/Auverne vs Erokhina/Cincola.
QF # 2: Chicago Slice def. Miami (3-0) – MD was the closest with Garnett/DeHeart defeating Wes Burrows/B.Long 21-19.
7:10 pm EST (Waggish) – Mashers def. So Cal Hard 8’s (3-1) – WD win by Mashers. 8’s were able to close the gap to have a respectable finish 21-18. MD: Wright/Daescu vs Kohler/Newman. Just like the MD match with Johns against each other, we have the partners against each other again here – also on court 3. Daescu and Newman are directly across each other. Very tight game. Mashers lead at end-change 11-9. Gets tied and no one is keeping the lead for long. Tied at 20! AJ feeling the pressure with that bulls-eye to ice out Newman. 23-21 for Mashers! MXD Smith/Daescu vs Stratman/Kohler tied at 16. Another tight finish 21-19 for Hard 8’s!. Now we get to see the Wright/Kovalova vs Newman MXD. If Newmans win we get a dream-breaker which would be fun with the lack of experience from > 50% of the players. See how the players kept the point going at 2-4 – well played! See point at 10-10 with Matt playing both Newmans and getting the lead 11-10 at end-change. Frequent cross-court dinking between Riley and Lucy but Matt is always prepared for Riley’s sneak attacks. Riley’s turn to go 1 v 2 at 15-19. Matt and Lucy must feel really good about this win 21-16.
NY Hustlers def FL Smash (3-2) – Court 4. Smash wins MD 22-20 and MXD 23-21 (David/Yates vs Bright/Hewett). This match goes to a dream-breaker. Tied at 8. Travis ties it against Tyson at 17! But Tyson able to get the next 2 and then Hewett gets them the match.
NJ 5s def. Stl Shock (4-0). The MXD was close James/Lea vs Jay/Allyce 22-20.
ATX Pickleballers def BLQK Bears (3-1). BLQK won MXD Maggie Brascia/Frazier vs Jade K./Tardio (21-18). The other MXD was a blow-out 21-12 Jackie K./JW vs Staksrud/Koop . MD: 21-18. WD. 21-17.
11:00 pm EST (Waggish) – Challenger: Dallas def DC (3-1). The MD Querrey/Auvergne was 21-12 against DLR/Newell. WD loss was 19, Bates/Auvergne (18), Judit Gargallo/Querrey (18).
Chicago Slice def. Bay Area Breakers (3-1). Their win was MD by holding Slice to 15.
Seattle Pioneers def. LA Mad Drops (3-1). MD goes first: Johns/Loong vs Arnold/Wilson. Close game. See 16-16 rally that the Mad Drops won. But Tyler gets his revenge on the next ball which Arnold thinks went out. Line call challenge discussion. CORRECTION: There was talk on the stream if Thomas had called it in. He did not. No one including announcers were clear on what happened but no challenge. Johns challenges a ball at 21-20 – game point. Ref rules in favor of Johns so Pioneers win 22-20. Announcers clearly thought it was out and stream’s replay angle showed out. Another MUST WATCH match due to the high caliber of play from all 4. WD: Irina/Catherine vs Etta/Meghan. Meghan bringing the fire that can’t be met and they get a big lead. No MLP magic from Irina showing up. Luckily, Catherine caught fire and staged some good plays for the Mad Drops despite Irina being heavily targeted. See Catherine’s aggression at 9-18 that led the comeback. But Pioneers take it 21-18. MXD #1: Loong claims a broken ball effected play at 19-15. Ref doesn’t seem to know what to do. Ben stays on sidelines. No replay. Loong/Dizon lose to Parenteau/Arnold 21-15. Johns/E.Wright defeat Tereschenko/Wilson 21-15.
Las Vegas Night Owls def. Frisco Pandas (3-1).
Thursday, June 15th – Challenger Group Stage
11:15 am EST – MLP announced that there is a rain delay and matches won’t start until at least noon EST. It hasn’t been the best weather in San Clemente the best week.
12:00 pm EST – We are now delayed until at least 1:30pm EST due to rain.
3:56 pm EST – Miami def. AZ (3-1) – First matches of the day underway and Miami comes up with a win over the poorly constructed as well as unlucky AZ Drive. Andreas Siljestrom had to be replaced last minute by Anderson Scarpa due to injury to his shoulder apparently, and it makes it more baffling with his back issues last time that AZ would keep Andreas in favor of Burrows. Burrows got his revenge though winning both his mixed and men’s matches as he had to secure the win over Ansboury/Scarpa to take it 3-1. Long/Goldberg lost to Cincola/Erokhina 21-10 for Miami’s only loss. AZ might be in trouble.
Columbus def. Utah (3-1) – The allegedly solid Utah team with new coach, Sam Flaxman, lose to Columbus. Megan Fudge got a win in mixed with CJ Klinger to secure the win against McMillan/Cassidy. The Columbus women suffered their only loss, 21-19, but otherwise the scores weren’t very competitive.
4:50 pm EST – Chicago def. Atlanta (3-1) – Surprisingly, the women of Chicago got smoked by Rane/Buckner, but it is less surprising when you remember Ackerman/Barr both have some volatility built in to their games. The Slice then rattle off the next 3 matches to take the match. The Phil Locklear era for Atlanta did not start off too well as he goes 0-2, and Hunter Johnson/Brooke Buckner were not able to pull it together against Barr/Garnett. Connor Garnett is a reason you choose upside in this format as his game is much improved from the first event in Mesa.
Bay Area def. Texas (3-1) – It was a not ideal start for Vivian Glozman, who lost only the Breakers 2nd female match in MLP, 21-19 against Pisnik/Whitwell, but she was able to clinch the match with Alshon in their mixed match. Tina Pisnik looked really good again as she played on the left with Scott Doerner in mixed. Glozman has to be feeling a lot of pressure after being dubbed the steal of the draft and the expectations that come along with being as heavy a favorite as you can get. This could go a long way to help her feeling more relaxed as the tournament goes along.
6:54 pm EST – D.C. def. Brooklyn (3-1) – What do you know? A D.C. Pickleball team win. You can only play so many close matches and lose for so long maybe. Brooklyn can’t be losing men’s matches but it is clear Querrey is getting better still as awkward as he may look out there. Auvergne/Querrey have been a formidable Challenger team throughout this 1st season. Frantova/Black had opportunities against D.C. but they couldn’t pull out it. Castillo does not look comfortable dinking in extended rallies right now but it wasn’t enough. Greg Dow just isn’t a good mixed player and Stefan Auvergne is a good one, that was the difference. Frantova/Nunnery smoked Querrey/Castillo, and it appears Castillo/Querrey will probably be the weak spot for this D.C. team. Nonetheless, they get a win.
Dallas def. Orlando (3-2) – First Dreambreaker of the tournament. Jillian Braverman getting all but 2 rallies against Bobbi Oshiro was the big difference maker as that one we would expect to be closer to even. Callan Dawson also can’t play singles to save his life. Interestingly, the Squeeze women won the first match and Rettger/Fought took their mixed match. If those two teams win for the Squeeze, it should put them in a good spot but they couldn’t pull it out.
AZ def. Columbus (3-1) – What do you know times two? AZ with a big win. Megan Fudge continues to struggle at MLP as she was not even close in either of her matches. Yates Johnson and CJ Klinger losing to Cincola/Scarpa is not a good loss either. Genie Erokhina looks like a Challenger level player when she’s out there and, as we mentioned when she was dropped, it was a professionalism rather than an ability thing. This makes things a lot more interesting in group A.
Utah def. Miami (3-2) – It is hard to win a Dreambreaker when 2 of your players get dominated and that’s what happened to Brendon Long and Regina Goldberg. Spencer Smith bested Long while Esquivel did the same to Goldberg. Long actually looked solid in Dreambreakers for the Hustlers, but Spencer Smith has some ground strokes which gives less experienced singles players like Long trouble. Frankly, Long hasn’t been as good recently in play nor has he been in MLP so far. He lost with Wes Burrows to go down 2-0, but both Miami teams won their mixed matches to put it to a Dreambreaker. We now have all 4 teams tied at 1-1 in group A, which means it is win or go home for those 4 teams.
7:48 pm EST – Bay Area def. Atlanta (3-1) – Interesting for Atlanta that Rane/Buckner have won both their games against who are probably the two best female teams for Challenger going into this event – Glozman/Radzikowska and Ackerman/Barr. It is particularly interesting because Rane couldn’t win with Fudge last time in Daytona. However, same script as last time for Atlanta who drop their next 3 matches. While this is obviously a brutal group to be in, it is unclear who decided the Phillip Locklear pick made sense. He has gone 0-4 in his games and his team is 0-2 on the day.
Chicago def. Texas (4-0) – Tough road for the Bouncers and Ranchers in this group, with two of the best and most consistent teams in there. Ackerman/Barr are so formidable but Garnett/DeHeart have really improved as a men’s pairing as well as with their mixed play. The Ranchers had Pisnik/Doerner up against Garnett/Barr and that’s just not a winning recipe as well as Pisnik has been playing. The Slice and Bay Area will move on, but now it comes down to which team gets a bye. That sets up a fun one between those two teams.
1:13 am EST – Dallas def. Brooklyn (3-1) – It was always going to be uphill for Brooklyn. They also made the wrong choice on Frantova over Glozman which doesn’t help. Learning lessons here as they only got the one men’s win here. Dallas was too much in mixed and women’s. Newell is a weird player but he should be in Challenger. Better than Locklear.
D.C. def Orlando (3-2) – Great day for DC. They didn’t get their wins from the likely sources as Shelby/Stefan lost as well as Sam/Stefan, but they got the other ones. Orlando is not a Dreambreaker team and it shows yet again in a Dreambreaker where Todd Fought is their best singles player. You can’t have that.
AZ def. Utah (3-1) – After writing off AZ, they get it done against Utah to get their 2nd win of the day and are off to the playoffs. Two subs and a pick up. It shows the talent discrepancy isn’t that far off.
Miami def. Columbus (3-1) – The Wes Burrows pick pays off as Miami is also headed to the playoffs. Burrows only went 1-2 in men’s today but he won another mixed match with Truong. For Columbus, their moves have fallen flat. Fudge had another bad day in women’s and Valdes wasn’t what Columbus hoped they could get out of a pickup.
Bay Area def. Chicago (4-0) – Bay Area is a wagon again. Some close matches but they go 4-0 against the other strong team in their division, and possibly 2nd best at MLP. Pablo and Ewa are scary as well as Pablo and Alshon.
Atlanta def. Texas (3-1) – Women go 2-1 today for Texas and the rest was 0-9. Rough go. Neither team makes the playoffs but 0-3 is bad for Premier 2024 hopes. Phil Locklear got 2 wins here.
Brooklyn def. Orlando (3-2) – 3 Dreambreaker losses for Orlando. They lost the gender matches and were able to get the mixed matches, but it wasn’t enough. This match doesn’t matter though as neither team makes the playoffs.
Dallas def. D.C. (3-2) – Stefan Auvergne continues to lead this DC team as he gets both wins for them, and they lose in a Dreambreaker. Close one at 22-20 but Dallas is 3-0 once again as that Jillian Braverman trade proves too be such a great pickup.
Dallas and Bay Area will have byes as the only undefeated teams. They are top seeds out of group play for the 2nd event in a row. AZ will play DC in a match of two of the worst teams from previous events while Chicago sees Miami. Should be some fun matches.