PPA Tour Austin Open – Live Random Thoughts
A few different partnerships in some of the divisions could lead to some fun matchups in Austin. Keep up with the action as we provide thoughts throughout the tournament. You can find our fantasy draft preview here to see how we saw this weekend shaking out.
Sunday, March 27th – Championship Sunday
6:09 pm EST (Slim) – Parenteau put up a fight but it wasn’t enough against Anna Leigh. Another singles gold for the teenager who is just too much right now.
5:10 pm EST (Slim) – Poor Tyson, the man doesn’t give up but he loses yet another Championship Sunday final to Ben Johns. What else to say?
Parenteau/Newman get the monkey off their back as they beat Kovalova/Wright in 5. These two play each other tight usually and today was no different. One of these teams were going to get off the schneid. Tough day for Lucy and Matt overall too.
2:45 pm EST (Gritty) – Seems silly now that they were questions about whether Mama Waters should continue playing with AL. They get another PPA gold and give Callie/Lucy their first loss together as a partnership. The Mama Waters resurgence continues as they take it 3 games to 1.
1:15 pm EST (Gritty) – That’s another one for the Johns brothers. Slow start losing game 1 and they were down in game 3, but they once again are too much for Newman/Wright. 4 for 5 in gold medals this year for the brothers.
Saturday, March 26th – Doubles
9:14 pm EST (Gritty) – Jorja Johnson and Andrea Koop major bronze medal. Johnson must have been a last minute replacement for the injured Vivienne David. The thing that strikes me about the match is how unbothered Jorja is by the pace of Parenteau and Irvine. Irvine is a female known for her power and it seems like nothing to Jorja at this point. It was kind of odd how surprised Morgan Evans and Dave Fleming were by Jorja’s ability. Do they not watch pro pickleball outside of the PPA? More concerning, do they not read NML Pickleball? This bronze is not Jorja’s coming out party because she should already be known. Combine that with Koop just being good and that’s a tough team. To think, this team barely beat Whitwell/Braverman 17-15 at the start of the day.
Tyson McGuffin and Jay Devilliers, Kings of the Backdraw! That’s a helluva run from them. So much fight. They get the win over Kansas City folks Ben Newell and Jack Oxler. Oxler from the clouds with an appearance in a PPA bronze medal match. Where ya been, Jack! For the new school people, tons of Youtube stuff out there from back in the day, which is really 4 or 5 years ago. Ben Newell is low key one to watch too.
7:00 pm EST (Gritty) – So we had some website trouble here but we are back up! This is what we get for trying to up our “standards” over here at NML. To think that both NML and the PPA having technical issues. We’re two peas in a pod really. We feel ya PPA!
Anyway, let’s get some updates for you. We’re not going to be getting new matchups for Championship Sunday. Men’s doubles we’re getting the Johns vs. Wright/Newman. Koller/Wilson gave Wright/Newman a bit of a run for their money but Wright/Newman were too much. With the women, Irvine/Parenteau were beat by the Waters in two as the Waters continue their good run. Will either the Johns or Lucy/Callie be beat on Sunday?
In the backdraw, Jay/Tyson have found their way all the way back to the bronze match. You can say a lot about this partnership but one thing you can never say about these two is that they give up. That’s a long road they have taken, including a 16-14 win over Dekel Bar/DJ Young. You have to respect that even though they lost to Mediratta/French who went to the backdraw and lost 15-3 to Ben Newell/Jack Oxler (we saw the return of Jack Oxler and Chris Heck in this men’s draw. Throwback!). Oxler/Newell will play Wilson/Koller to see who goes to bronze.
For the women, Jorja Johnson/Andrea Koop won 17-15 in their first loser’s bracket match over Whitwell/Braverman and have worked all the way through to the bronze match, including a win over Stratman/Tereschenko. It’s another example for Jorja Johnson showing she is right there with these women. As good a day as Todd/Gayten-Leach had, it’s still only a 2-2 day after losing to Jansen/Grechkina 15-5. We don’t see many female upsets and they almost had the biggest of upsets these days. But it’s just not easy to get through these draws.
4:05 pm EST (Gritty) – Some very interesting results so far. Wilson/Koller barely over DJ/Dekel 12–10 in the third. That’s a matchup we both had quite close as either the 3 or 4 seed in this field, and that’s a tough one for DJ/Dekel. The Johns do get Dawson/Smith after losing the first game they don’t give up a point the rest of the way. There’s not enough offence creation in that partnership to get the truly elite couple of teams but they do have elite hands. Also, Wright/Newman over Loong/Nunnery, and it’s noticeable a couple of months has done Nunnery well. The man looks hashtag fit.
Parris Todd/Gayten-Leach is the most notable female early result as they beat Braverman/Whitwell and took Lucy/Callie to 11-9 in the third – heartbreaking loss. Todd needs to be rated higher by us as she is good. There’s no question about it. Quite impressive.
12:48 pm EST (Gritty) – I know they got a bronze last week after I was half joking with their obituary as a partnership but we can’t even call these upsets anymore when Jay/Tyson lose. They go out in their first match 6 and 7 to PB Formum star Neil Meditatta and Brandon French. It’s a long fight back to bronze for them. These two are fortunate they each have an event where they are winning medals as they could be a lot worse off.
Friday, March 25th – Mixed
6:40 pm EST (Gritty) – Rough day for Benny Backdraw. He and Koop got smoked by Anna Leigh and Dekel 15-3 so that’s a no podium day. Dekel/AL played a tight bronze ultimately losing against Jay/Jessie. Dekel is really pounding that serve and it is a weapon in mixed, especially when teams are switching to get their right alignment. Dekel’s Erne has also become such a weapon but he is still learning how to use it in mixed where he doesn’t try to over-Erne. It is a testament to Ben that other than the very first tournament him and AL have not been challenged. They are both wonderful players and puting them together has been a cheat code. AL may have sped up Jay a few too many times. No surprise though to see Jay/Jessie battle it out for the full day. Irvine has added more variety in terms of her forehand speed-ups when dinking. All these pros are constantly adding stuff to their games.
6:40 pm EST (Gritty) – Catherine/Riley are into what I believe is their first Championship Sunday of 2022 with a convincing win over Anna Leigh and Dekel. After going down 7-0 in game 1, they rolled off 22 of the next 25 points to win 11-8, 11-2. Anna Leigh and Dekel had a pretty convincing win themselves over Championship Sunday staples, Irvine/Devilliers, but the consistency level in mixed still isn’t there for Dekel. He seems to be finding himself more and more as a mixed player, but Parenteau/Newman prove to be too much.
Matt/Lucy are also in their first Championship Sunday (I believe) with a dominant 11-3, 11-3 win over Leigh Waters and Tyson McGuffin. It’s a matchup we have seen quite a few times on Sunday, but not in this Championship Sunday format. Both teams were due for a good result and now are each guaranteed at least a silver.
Benny Backdraw always fighting to the bitter end. A couple of tight wins in the losers side as he is still going with Andrea Koop. They’ll face AL and Dekel. No stream on his matches so I’m curious to see where Ben’s energy level is at and whether he feels he has anything to prove in that match.
3:55 pm EST (Gritty/Slim) – I wasn’t able to watch most of this match other than the end so these are mostly Slim’s thoughts on another Ben Johns mixed loss (first of 2022 though). Johns looked very sloppy throughout the match with a lot of misses on his backhand. Is Andrea Koop sick? She sounded like she was coughing a lot on the stream. Tyson/Leigh stayed aggressive and didn’t change their style throughout the match. Both Tyson and Leigh’s strong mixed results continue this year, and my thought is that Tyson is probably just an underrated mixed player because he doesn’t have truly elite weapons. But that serve has turned back into a real weapon for him and he’s so steady overall as a player.
They are playing these quarter-final matches one at a time and the other one that happened was Parenteau/Newman winning in three over Koller/Smith. This is their chance to make some noise for the first time in 2022. Koller/Smith have also squeaked by Jansen/Collin Johns 16-14 in the backdraw.
1:52 pm EST (Gritty) – Today has gone pretty much as expected for all the higher seeds. Irvine/Devilliers and Waters/Bar should be an interesting match. I took Irvine/Devilliers but considering we have been mistaken on how PPA seeding works with 3-4 seeds for the past couple of months that is one I’d probably like a do-over on. I don’t like that they have Waters/Bar in the quarter-finals as that’s a rough matchup. It is a match that would be fun to see streamed though. Really, a lot of these matches coming up look like a lot of fun. Smith/Koller vs. Parenteau/Newman, Lucy/Matt vs. Stratman/Wilson, Koop/Johns against either Jansen/Collin Johns or Leigh Waters/Tyson.
I also have to make a note of Rob Nunnery getting a big early win. He is back! It’s definitely an interesting and surprising partnership with forma Ninja Warrior, Jennifer Tavernier, but they got a nice win over Hayden Patriquin/Yana Grechkina. They lost to Parenteau/Newman easily but do we have a motivated Nunnery?
10:20 am EST (Gritty) – I want to clarify something I got wrong yesterday on seeding which is that the 3/4 coin flip has been the case all year for seeding. I had gotten it wrong in my head but that’s been the case all year publicly. No excuses, but there have been a lot of 1/4, 2/3 matchups acorss divisions it seems at least. So nothing has changed! Please disregard previous comments in this live blog and in the comments.
Thursday, March 24th – Singles
6:20 pm EST (Gritty) – It was a full chalk day in singles with the #1 and #2 seeds on both sides going to Championship Sunday and the #3 seeds winning bronze. A stark contrast from recent weeks. At least on the men’s side, it was a much thinner field than we have seen as I noted earlier today. There weren’t a lot of those bordering 2nd and 3rd tier players that can come out to give the top players a real run for their money in multiple matches – Ryan Sherry can do it but hasn’t been more recently. Tyson and Jay were both pushed hard by Julian Arnold, but otherwise there wasn’t much in the way of any possible drama today.
4:00 pm EST (Gritty) – Julian Arnold gave Tyson a run for his money as we thought he might but it wasn’t quite enough. Tyson started playing a lot more cat and mouse as the match went along, and once he was able to pull out game 2, 11-9, he worked Arnold hard. Arnold just isn’t as experienced to be comfortable int that type of game and I think there’s a lot more Arnold can do off his backhand off the bounce when Tyson drops it in the kitchen. Another Championship Sunday for the perennial #2 seed. He’ll play Ben Johns in what will surely be another exhilarating gold medal match between those two.
Parenteau is through to Championship Sunday after beating Irina while Callie is playing Anna Leigh right now. Smith got by Parris Todd in a what looks like it must have been a long 3-game match and don’t be surprised to a see a re-match there in the bronze. Todd gets Irina right now and Callie will have to play Padegimaite (assuming Smith loses to AL).
One of our readers noted that Callie Smith also had the #3 seed but was playing Anna Leigh. Slim texted me he thought it’s possible the PPA has gone back to coin flips for the #3 and #4 seed, which I believe is what they were doing last year. If that is true, which we don’t know, it may be they have gone back to the coin flip so there is some more variation in semi-final matchups – most notably a coin flip would mean Ben doesn’t 100% have to face JW the next time he’s registered for a PPA.
1:55 pm EST (Gritty) – It’s not nearly as deep a men’s singles field as what we were seeing on either of the pro tours in Florida. The top 3 players – Ben, Tyson and Jay – have made the semis with relative ease. Jay and Ben will play in one semi-final (Ben is up a game right now) while Tyson will get Julian Arnold in the other. It should be interesting to see whether Arnold can push Tyson in this one. I would expect that to be close. Arnold and McGuffin were practicing together earlier in the week for whatever that’s worth.
A notable almost result was Lina Padegimaite taking Irina to the brink losing 11-9 in the third. Irina will now play Catherine Parenteau in the semi-finals. Padegimaite got a bronze in doubles at a recent APP event with Kasandra Gehrke and she has been playing these PPA singles draws.
1:57 am EST (Gritty) – There are a couple of notable omissions from the singles draws. Lea Jansen is not included in the women’s draw while Thomas Wilson is not in the men’s draw. Those are a couple of very possible podium players both missing, particularly Jansen.
Another thing that is weird is the seeding…again. Jay Devilliers is third in PPA standings for singles yet he is on Ben Johns’ half of the draw. That seems rough for Jay as making that Championship Sunday becomes a lot harder with Mr. Johns on his side of the bracket.
31 thoughts on “PPA Tour Austin Open – Live Random Thoughts”
As I mentioned before. PPA rigs/manipulates the player’s draws to their liking. Maybe they want Ben to make sure he gets a Gold. Who knows. I do understand from a great source that PPA does manipulate the draw against non-PPA members. What a company. Best of luck Tom Dundon.
Huh? How is it rigging if BJ has to go through the number 3 seed to get to the finals, but the number 2 seed only has to go through the number 4 seed to get to the finals? It’s if it’s “rigged”, it seems rigged against Ben!
I would agree for today but as noted in the live blog it is a possibility the PPA has gone back to having the 3-4 players have a coin flip to see who gets those seeds. If so, that seems like a direct result of JW being 4 seed and Ben would have to face him every time if they continued doing things the same way. Ben doesn’t care about anyone except JW currently (I know he lost to Frazier at the start of the year)
If the accusation is that JW is such a threat that the PPA would “rig” seeding to keep the 4 seed out of the 1 seed’s half, the expectation is that they’d meet in the final anyway and JW would often win, right? And then he’d quickly be seeded higher anyway.
The 3/4 coin flip has been all year. I made a mistake in my memory. Nothing weird going on. Thought they had changes if
Callie is the 3 seed paired up against AL 1 seed as well
Right, I missed that. Had it in my mind she is the 4 seed but that’s only when Lea isn’t there
very poor production. very thin draw. very meager crowd. tm benefited once again by being 2nd seed and only facing one semi experienced player before the final. That player has basically new to the sport and had ty on the ropes. His lack of experience being the main difference.
I defy anybody to tell me this singles event was as competitive and deep as the last APP where jw had to beat STAKstrund, probably the third best player in the world, twice to win gold. How long is the charade going to go on that ppa stands for the best pickleball in the world? How can you call yourself the premier tour when you don’t even have 3 of the top 5 singles players in the world showing up for your tournaments?
Staksruud 3rd in the world? Start winning events and beating Jay, Tyson, Zane consistently then maybe he can enter the top 5 conversation. That’s my opinion
lol he’s already beaten jay and zane. and he has never played tyson. And he gives jw far tougher matches than tm has this year. i can assure you he is the real deal. it’s a joke that the ppa bills itself as the elite tour when you get literal cake walks to the finals. I would not go by ratings and who has won and who hasn’t to judge of the current crop of players. I use my “own eyes”..
I think it’s way too far to say Fed is #3 in the world. He has played JW very tight and beaten some of the best, but need more consistency. He did not beat Jay. He almost beat him in Port St Lucie
The thin crowd is do to no parking at the facility. Folks are being shuttled in from 10 min away. Singles day is always smaller as few folks play singles, amateur players are the fans and the “fans” are also playing their tournament.
Thin draw for sure in the senior pro events. Weinbach, check. No Jennifer D, Dayne, Cammy, Moore, Crandall, Kris A., etc. What’s the deal? They hate PPA? That’s the rumor — PPA abuses senior pros. True story? Come on, NML, step it up, quit your day jobs, and start boning up on the geezer divisions.
APP does seem to have its wifi more together.
We monitor the senior pros at APPs but don’t bother with PPA now. Weinbach/Karges just cruised to a gold. There’s no point. That’s the PPAs choice
Good to know. Can you explain a bit — when you say you don’t bother with the PPA now, do you mean because the senior pros avoid the PPA? If that’s it, why do they avoid the PPA? Did I miss your explanation in an earlier post?
You have given us an idea and we think we may explain this as a takeaway on Monday!
That could be such a great co-existence — APP as the senior/challenger tour, and PPA as the established pros tour
STAK is on his way to ST George. Where will the coin toss put him? Place your bets and say your prayers. I am quite sure there are two PPA perennials with a rooting interest in what happens behind closed doors. 🙂
It will be intersting to see how Fed does but consistency is tough for guys early in their careers. We’ll see
While commentating today Lea explained how the seeding works. She said that the 3rd and 4th seed flip a coin to determine which side of the bracket they will be on. She also said that the players prefer it that way so every tournament isn’t the same matchups. I’ll try to find a time stamp on the YouTube stream for when she talked about it.
https://youtu.be/-Xu4rLQGD8E At 2:11:30.
And Hannah actually explains it more than Lea.
I thanked the wrong Denise lol…but thanks for info. I’ll have to listen
Thanks for finding this Denise. A little surprising but necessary to keep PPA from being the same old show every event.
It’s a shame that after spending most of their money locking up a few top players that not enough was left to fix their video streaming issues.
Trying to watch PPA on Men’s Doubles Day….and stream goes down in the middle of a match. No word on PPA social media (at least that I see) on if the stream will go back up and when. I get in a lower budget broadcast, sometimes things happen. But please communicate something when it does. I was already on the fence if I was going to watch much today….I think I’m out. Too many other things I can do.
Let’s get our act together PPA
Well it’s ironic because the they talked about upping standards and the streams have been problematic all year
Jorja. Johnson. I cannot believe the hands and the consistency. I’ve watched every APP, but I have to admit I was still blown away to see her fight so well against one of the PPAs “big 3” in women’s. Amazing cross court dinks, clubby hands, timley resets. I know they missed the footfault on Andreas left handed overhead, but they deserved it still and played amazing.
She is super impressive. It’s nice to see it translate. It still goes back to us that she drills with JW every day and while those women hit hard they are not JW. And she’s talented. Combine the talent with the level of regular play she gets in Florida…Gabe Tardio, Bright, Mircea Morariu etc. Recipe for success
I think you need to find out why Matt only owns 1 shirt. Is it a social and pickle shirt?
Matt got a lot of grief for that shirt last PPA event on the YouTube commentary. I figured he might reconsider it for this event but I guess not.
Also, I feel for Parentau. She had a touch 5 games to win the mix and then immediately had to play AL. Seems not fair. She looked exhausted at the end of the singles match.
It is tough to have to do that. The difficulty with this format for sure
We have no clue haha