PPA Championships – Live Random Thoughts

We do have one PPA tourney left in 2021, which is the PPA Masters. This is the big kahuna though. We’ll be keeping up with the action as best we can all weekend!

Our fantasy draft preview is here for those interested or you want to see how our picks went.

Sunday, October 24th – Championship Sunday

8:45 pm EST (Slim) – Zane Navatril defeats Tyson McGuffin in three straight games, in pretty dominant fashion, despite the usual good fight effort from Tyson to take the gold medal in men’s singles. By knocking out Ben Johns in the semi-final and Tyson in the final, Zane left no doubt who the top player was this weekend.

One of the big questions heading into 2022, has to be what Zane’s serve and game will look in 2022 with the rule changes. One has to imagine Zane is working hard on his one handed spin, will he be able to generate the same kick he gets currently with his serves?

7:45 pm EST (Slim) – Jessie Irvine and Catherine Parenteau take down the Waters 3-1 to take gold in the women’s doubles final, giving Catherine two gold medals on the day.

Side note, does anyone else find it hilarious that Selkirk is still running Vanguard commercials with the Newmans who are now with Gamma and Tyson, who has basically never played with the Vanguard? Game changer?

5:45 pm EST (Gritty) – Another 5 gamer today that goes down to the wire with Stone/Bar coming out on top barely over McGuffin and Newman. They were up 2 games when McGuffin switched to playing the left side primarily and that seemed to really help them. I also thought Stone got a bit too passive later in the match. He wasn’t doing much other than dinking and resetting, but it ended up being enough.

Underrated funny thing to watch today is Morgan Evans’ reactions to some of the comments from play by play man Drew Felios.

3:30 pm EST (Slim) – Catherine Parenteau pulls the upset in straight games over Anna Leigh Waters to take gold in the women’s singles final. Catherine seems to be finding some momentum here in singles at the end of the season, as she also won Hilton Head last week over Lea Jansen. Gritty and I were perplexed by Anna Leigh’s reluctance to come to the net and I think that is definitely something she needs to work on.

2:00 pm EST (Slim) – Jessie Irvine and Jay Devilliers came back from being down two games to none, to defeat the Newman siblings in five games, in the mixed gold medal match. It was interesting, after the first couple of games, Jessie and Jay definitely made a concerted effort to dink some more balls to Riley to keep him honest and see if they could get a few pop ups from him and it seemed to work. On the same note, something that Gritty and I were talking about yesterday and I think would be the biggest boon to her game is if Lindsey Newman could add some roll to her backhand. Despite using a two-handed backhand Lindsey get basically no roll on her backhand. In this match if she had the ability to roll her backhand cross court to keep Jay honest it would have been a huge help, as Jay was coming all the way across the court in the dink battles to insert himself and was not being punished for it. Jessie and Jay have to be encouraged by the results of their new partnership as they now have 3 silvers and a gold in their last four tournaments together.

10:30 am EST (Gritty) – All the matches can be streamed on Youtube and Facebook today. Mixed at 12pm EST, Women’s singles at 2pm, Men’s doubles at 3:30pm, Women’s doubles at 5pm, and Men’s singles at 6:30pm.

Saturday, October 23rd – Doubles

8:45 pm EST (Gritty) – We will get another Waters vs. Parenteau/Irvine rematch, but this time in the finals. Irina/Stratman took game 1 but they were steamrolled after that by Parenteau and Irvine. Irina has played well this weekend but she doesn’t have enough stuff against these better teams.

Collin and Lange also made it interesting going to 3. Would have liked to see that. It must be frustrating for Lange whose job for Head doesn’t allow him to play more because when he plays with higher end players he just wins. Good showing for Collin too. Lange, Andre Daescu and Eden Lica are all guys who don’t play a ton but do well when given the opportunity. What do they all have in common? Big freakin’ dudes with great hands.

6:02 pm EST (Gritty) – So it’s a triple no crown for Ben. Not a single gold at the biggest PPA of the year. Quite the shocker but not as shocking as that would have been a couple of months ago. Stone/Bar squeak by them and that’s a big result for them. They do very well together.

3:15 pm EST (Gritty) – Wilson and Koller gave Tyson and Riley a run for their money but it is ultimately the favorites that prevail. All chalk so far in the men’s draw as Lange and Johns couldn’t give Bar and Stone anything to make them sweat really.

1:06 pm EST (Gritty) – It’s the first very good win in a while for Farias/Warnick as they beat JW and Callan in 3 tight ones. Those guys were due for a win but the JW/Callan partnership underwhelms again and you wonder if there’s a little too much beta between those two. Only their third partnership but the early results are not great.

11:00 am EST (Gritty) – Something must be going on with Jansen. She was supposed to play with Collin Johns yesterday and Susannah Barr today – withdrawal yesterday and Braverman takes her spot today. Injury?

The women’s draw is shaping up for a women’s semi with Lucy/Simone against the Waters so look out for that.

Again, will he curious to see Lange and Collin Johns’ results today. Not high expectations but they have a good ceiling.

Friday, October 22nd – Mixed

8:18 pm EST (Gritty) – It was a very quick game 2 as the Newman’s were down 5-3 and then Wright/Kovalova couldn’t get any stops. It is amazing how much has changed in the last few months. It seems like forever ago that we were so tired of mixed day and now here we are without the previous top 2 duos in the final.

Wright/Kovalova steamrolled Simone and Ben even though Ben looked more engaged than the last time these teams faced off in the backdraw. Neither him or Simone were playing well at all as they couldn’t get anything reset and were losing exchanges at the net. The Ben questions are loud as we go into 2022.

It actually ends up being a quality day for Dekel and Catherine so maybe my doom and gloom Dekel mixed thoughts were somewhat premature. It’s a long grind through that backdraw but to come away with 4th is a good day for them.

I’m going to go through the numbers but Dayne and Dave in senior is currently a cheat code. They haven’t given up more than 6 points in a game today. On the flip side, Welsher and Bellamy haven’t given up more than 7 points in a game today in what I believe is a first time partnership. No Cammy MacGregor, Kris Anderson, Lisa Naamu or Jen Dawson in the field though.

6:29 pm EST (Gritty) – These pickleball days so often have such slim margins between great and disappointing. Devilliers and Irvine barely beat Stratman and Koller – they were at 9-9 in the third before eventually pulling ahead to an 11-9 victory. Then they played a couple of close games in beating Yates and AL. Here they now sit in the championship Sunday. By the way, Jay was beastly against Yates and Waters. Really made his presence felt and he was winning a lot of the hand stuff even when it looked like he was in a defensive position.

Did I speak too soon on Dekel? He and Parenteau are working their way through the backdraw and are a game away from the bronze. We probably won’t get to see it but the matchup against AL and Kyle would be fun to see.

2:40 pm EST (Gritty) – It’s no longer an elephant in the room. It’s the T-Rex or some other massive creature. Something is going on with Ben Johns. That’s a 7 and 2 loss to AL and Yates and while Yates has definitely been playing at a higher level recently, that’s not even close. Will have to watch that one back closely. Hannah Johns said on the broadcast yesterday that Ben said he was dealing with a cold but still. Especially after Simone’s win with JW last weekend, this is rough.

I have to be done with Dekel in mixed for a while. Him and Parenteau lost to Koller and Stratman in 2. I picked Stratman/Koller ahead of Parenteau/Bar in our draft but he isn’t getting results in mixed again. He needs to prove it to me before I start believing again.

Barr/Loong played Callie Smith and Spencer Smith very tight and were on the wrong end of a couple of very close line calls they weren’t happy about, including on match point. Hate to see matches end that way. They rebounded for a good win over Carr and Stone 15-12 on the losers side giving an 0-2 to Carr and Stone. Also rough.

12:14 pm EST (Gritty) – Two early comments. The first is that the Corrine and Adam partnership continues to falter. They lose their first match in two close games to Cierra Gayten-Leach and Joey Farias. Farias has shots as good as anyone out there and I think Gayten-Leach is going to be good if she puts in more time to pickleball, but for a potential MLP partnerships that’s not a good loss yet again for them.

Lea Jansen and Collin Johns withdrew. I wanted to see how they would fare so that’s unfortunate. No clue what happened.

Thursday, October 21st – Singles

7:26 pm EST (Gritty) – Tyson is such an impressive competitor. He uses losses to fuel him and for all the extra competition this year he has managed to still be right there at the top of the singles game. He holds off JW in 3 and JW was playing very well. Tyson was just a little better. He has another opportunity to finally win gold without Ben around and I’d put my money on him this time over Zane.

On the other hand, Ben decides not to play the backdraw again, which does make sense. We’ll say it again that if we were the PPA would not love our marquee player doing this.

Catherine handled Callie quite easily this time as she continues the momentum from Hilton Head too. Will she be able to give AL a run for her money finally?

And it’s a rough day after a rough draw for Lea Jansen who loses to Irina 15-13. Those losers brackets must be tough with no get back to gold but still that’s gotta sting for the biggest PPA of the year.

4:37 pm EST (Gritty) – Another Ben upset, this time at the hands of Zane. Ben just couldn’t get enough scoring going as he couldn’t get up to the net for cat and mouse, and Zane was passing very well that Ben was having trouble getting stops. It’s continued momentum for Zane as his big last stretch of the year has been fantastic. Did not hear why Yates had to forfeit as that had to help Zane with having all his energy for the Ben match

JW Johnson is facing Tyson in the other semi as JW took down Jay. Big result for him there. And Gabe Joseph’s very tough day continued in the backdraw after losing to Yates. He went down to Kyle McKenzie, which is McKenzie’s first real singles win in quite some time (he then lost to William Sobek though).

On the women’s side, it’s chalk 4 in the semis. Lea and Anna Leigh then Catherine and Callie. Smith looked like she put it together after game 1 against Irina. She is going up to the kitchen on returns almost 100% of the time and serving quite hard.

1:35 pm EST (Gritty) – Kyle Yates is undoubtedly playing better these days as he gets a very good win over Gabe Joseph in two tight games. Joseph does not like to use his timeouts and probably should as Yates had a couple of big runs in bith games to take leads. Joseph was up 9-5 in game 1 and then lost 11-9, and then game back in game 2 down 10-6 only to lose 12-10. Joseph hasn’t played a tournament in a little while and it might have showed today. Well done for Kyle here and his reward is a matchup with Zane.

12:15 pm EST (Gritty) – Lucy Kovalova kindly pointed out on Facebook that PPA rankings were updated just not on their website. So AL is the 3 seed and that’s the 3 and 4 coin flip that would put her on Lea’s side. So scratch what I wrote other than I don’t like the 3 and 4 coin flip and the fact that we still don’t have AL as a top 2 seed because we are using PPA points. Rant was a bit premature on our end.

11:14 am EST (Gritty) – the PPA just wants us to talk about terrible seeding. It has to be intentional for the women’s draw as Lea Jansen and Anna Leigh Waters have at least been on opposite sides of the draw in recent PPA’s. Not today though! Somehow, some way, AL and Lea are on the same side with Jillian Braverman while Callie and Catherine are on the other side. This means we are guaranteed to not have one of the two best singles players in the championship for the biggest PPA of the year. Does the PPA not want another Jansen-AL final?

Did Parenteau complain about having to play AL recently in tourneys as she is #1 in PPA points? Not to be all conspiracy theorists, but this sure looks intentional. If we are going by PPA points as shown on their site, AL isn’t even in the top 5 but she is clearly a top 4 seed here in this draw. They have to be manipulating the draw as AL shouldn’t have a top 4 seed technically but then how broken is your points system that AL is still not even in the top 5 in points this far into the season?

Ahhhhh so damn frustrating!

Also, Collin Johns is playing singles as a surprise entrant. Will be curious to see how he does. He must be a reader and wants to show us his singles prowess.

2 thoughts on “PPA Championships – Live Random Thoughts

  • October 21, 2021 at 8:58 pm

    I was re-reading your rankings you did right after the US Open and it’s interesting to see how much has changed in 6 months. Lea and AL weren’t top 5 in singles, now they are the two best. AJ Koller and JW Johnson, who you almost expect to podium somewhere every tournament, were both ‘no-names’. Ben Johns was invincible, and while still the undeniable best, is now beatable. Mixed was the most boring draw, and recently it’s been the craziest. Kind of cool to see all the changes. It was fun being able to read through your old posts and see the pro tour evolve this year. Thanks for all your work. Sorry for the random thoughts. Anyway, night.

    • October 22, 2021 at 8:25 am

      You got us re-reading our rankings too haha! It is crazy how much has changed in such a short period of time. The evolution is so quick. We are truly aiming for new rankings after MLP. Thanks as always for reading!


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