Two tourneys, one live blog. The PPA event starts today (Thursday) as always while the APP tournament begins on Friday as this is a tier 2 APP. So there won’t be alignment on the events happening this weekend and we expect a large amount of the focus will be at one of the biggest PPAs, if not the biggest, of the year.
Sunday, October 9th – PPA Championship Sunday and APP Singles
7:45 pm EST – Boring finish to Sunday. It’s hard to tell with JW, but he looked tired despite Ben having the extra final today. 3 straight games for Ben.
6:48 pm EST – Another triple crown for AL again. The singles was her easiest but not a free triple crown by any means. Julian Arnold goes for gold as well in Alabama, getting through Foster easily.
5:50 pm EST – Matt and Riley looked on their way to a rout after winning the first 2 games 2 and 2, but then they took their foot off the gas a little for game 3 and allowed the Johns to get settled. They started punishing the attacks more and it was close from there. Matt and Riley win 11-8 in the third but a very interesting match with some controversial, but likely correct calls, in game 5.
Jack Foster is in the gold after a nice couple of wins, including rolling Tellez in the bronze. Ewa Radzikowska wins gold in 2 straight over Fudge. A total unknown before this weekend
4:05 pm EST – She will have many more chances but rough match for Parris. She is the least experienced of the four who were on court and it showed. Some ill-advised speed ups in particular were costly and her nerves showed at the end when she left a looping top spin forehand of AL’s go that dropped in by about 2 feet. Anna Bright looked really good along with Anna Leigh, but Leigh Waters pulling it together after going down 11-3, 5-0 to start the match was impressive mental fortitude. They end 3 straight 11-8, 11-8 and 11-9. Also, missed opportunity for Parris and Anna not implementing any lob strategy.
Julian Arnold and Ewa Radzikowska are in the gold matches as they both won in straight games. Radzikowska and Marshall Brown are the two unknown stars of the weekend. Ewa has high level tennis, of course, and this I believe is her first pro singles tournament. Quality win versus Oshiro.
2:21 pm EST – It’s another win for Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns. They do it in straight games over JW and Catherine – 11-3, 11-9 and 14-12. JW and Catherine gave a real good fight and there were moments in both games 2 and 3 where they looked like they would take the victory. Frankly, the difference was Parenteau not holding up quite well enough head-to-head with Ben, whose backhand rolls give Catherine a lot of trouble and her counters don’t bother him enough. Parenteau actually played really well in game 3 especially, but her lack of firepower is something she can’t do a ton about. The slow start from JW was also an issue, but he brought his level up big time in games 2 and 3. AL and Ben too good right now.
Lauren Stratman withdrew from singles today but Megan Fudge somehow forfeited her first match. She didn’t withdraw as she is still playing in the backdraw. What happened there? Was she trying to calm Ryler down? It opens up a huge opportunity as Radzikowska is suddenly in the winners bracket final with one win over Alix Truong, 8 and 9. Bobbi Oshiro big win over Jorja Johnson too, 7 and 9. We don’t see Bobbi play a ton of singles but she is legit. Jack Foster loses to Pablo Tellez in a tight 3 game match that was as chippy as would be expected from two guys who do not appear to like each other at all. Notably, Gabe Tardio loses in the backdraw to Max Manthou and Tardio’s consistency in singles has not come to fruition yet.
12:28 pm EST – The PPA stuff doesn’t start until 1 pm EST, right at football time, but we have some APP men’s singles to get up to speed on. Julian Arnold will face Rafa Hewett in the semi-finals after a testy match between Hewett and DeHeart that Rafa pulled out 13-11 in the third. It appeared when DeHeart had match point at 10-7 that Rafa called Ryler’s approach shot on the baseline out when it seemed in. Hard to say definitely from the angle of the stream, but that ball sure looked in. Rafa had complained earlier in game 3 about Ryler’s wife, Megan Fudge, possibly coaching him, which is not a good look regardless of whether she was. Then on Rafa’s match point, Hewett had a ball clip off the net that also clipped off DeHeart’s paddle and out. It looked like Ryler was trying to say it didn’t nick his paddle, but the point ultimately went to Rafa. Weird match all around with some less than ideal conduct from both players.
On the other half of the draw, Jack Foster will play Pablo Tellez in the semis after Tellez won 12-10 in the third over Kyle Lewis and Foster won in 3 over William Sobek. This semi-final will be a big match for both players, who haven’t seen an APP singles podium in quite a while. Foster and Tellez also have a little history playing one another so this could get testy as well.
Saturday, October 8th – PPA and APP Doubles
12:35 am EST – The PPA sure extends these days out, which directly results from ensuring they get as many matches as possible on the broadcast. They really do not care about the bronze matches as it wasn’t until around midnight eastern time that the bronze match was finished up for the men. Dekel Bar had an Instagram story with no one in sight to watch what was actually a really good matchup between he and JW and Frazier/Navratil. JW and Dekel ended up grinding that backdraw to beat Frazier/Navratil, and you can’t help but think those two teams would have both been better off if you switch Navratil and Frazier. Nevertheless, two APP teams getting into the bronze match. We also want to clarify that it seems we were incorrect about JW and Dekel having planned out this tournament specifically prior to 2022.
In the women’s bronze, Lucy and Callie beat Lea/Catherine in two games in what has to be a very disappointing day for Jansen/Parenteau. Give the two credit for pulling it together after an almost brutal let down loss to Gaytan-Leach and Wright, but another tournament without a podium for those two.
8:48 pm EST – Parris Todd and Anna Bright ginormous win over Lucy and Callie, 12-10 in the third. Honestly, if they lost, it was not going to be because Callie and Lucy were better. Anna and Parris were undoubtedly the better team and deserved to win. Lucy and Callie were on their heels the whole match after the first half of game 1. The Waters should be scared if they get to Sunday as Anna and Parris will be coming after Leigh. The Johns are in the finals after beating Jay and Tyson 7 and 7.
At the APP, it’s a good day for the Bobbi Oshiro should be on an MLP team camp (aka NML Pickleball). Oshiro needs to be in a partnership like this one with Jorja where Jorja creates a bunch and Bobbi sets up, with some sneaky offence herself. Jorja played very free and easy today. They beat Stratman/Remynse twice, with the gold being much closer after it looked like they were going to roll being up 11-0 and 7-2. They won 11-9 in the third to take gold.
Julian and Rafa got gold in 3 as well. They lost game 1 and barey won game 2, 14-12, but they pulled it out. Good weekend for Rafa so far.
6:55 pm EST – Can Dylan Frazier catch a break against the top teams? He has now lost 12-10 in the third to Riley/Matt and the Johns brothers today with Zane. Quite the contrast to JW and Dekel who were rolled by Matt and Riley 7 and 1. Dekel and JW continue to underwhelm as less than the sum of their parts and it’s the perils of lining partnerships up so far in advance. Dekel and JW had their tourneys set before the year started, and before Dylan and JW got rolling. JW may have given up on Dylan a little early.
Parris Todd and Anna Bright smoked Lea and Catherine, and are currently playing Lucy/Calie. It’s not a good time for Lea and Catherine right now as they lose easily to a non-PPA team. They just barey beat Gaytan-Leach and Etta Wright in the backdraw too, 16-14.
At the APP, Oshiro and Johnson got through Stratman and Remynse 7 and 3. Good win there and they will see them again in the gold. Tito Lladro and Jason Kinney with a big surprise silver, beating Scarpa and Dow 5 and 8 in the bronze. Scarpa and Dow make you work but their limited offence can leave them prone to losses against lesser teams.
5:10 pm EST (Gritty) – There’s lots of action to discuss but we have to get into this crazy sequence in game 2 of the Waters match against Grechkina/Franco – see the video on our Twitter account. Later in game 2, Yana/Regina decide to start lobbing everything as the Waters were looking into the sun. After going down 8-6 with a lob sequence, Leigh Waters loses her mind and yells at Grechkina/Franco. Grechkina responds by saying essentially that it’s a strategy, calm down and then asks the crowd to make some noise. They lose the next point after Leigh is standing on the baseline not coming to the net, Anna Leigh calls timeout and their coach (?), Brandon Oaks (?), attempts to calm Leigh down. You can see Leigh mouthing during the timeout “Fix her. It’s your problem now!” to their coach. The Tennis Channel announcers, who are not pickleball people, have zero sympathy for Leigh and rightfully so. Refreshing to see some announcers call people out for once as it’s an absurd temper tantrum about a viable strategy. They end up losing game 2 after Leigh continues to stand at the baseline because she apparently can’t see the lobs.
There was some difficulty with the stream as the sound was not matching the video, but the PPA conveniently cuts off the Youtube stream (no clue what happened on Tennis Channel). We miss the entirety of game 3 that the Waters end up winning 11-6. It is probably the wildest 3 minutes you will see in pickleball this year and, of course, I’m going to think the PPA intentionally cut off the stream to avoid any further meltdown from Mama Waters, especially since when the stream came back it was in the middle of a pre-match conversation between commentators. Intentional or not, what a shame we don’t get to see game 3 and what the interaction was like between opponents. Regardless, a terrible look for Leigh all around even though they get the win.
In some actual results, Warnick/Burrows not surprisingly find their way past Dawson/Loong. That’s a day spoiler result that they can give you. They’ll have Koller/Wilson next, who only won 13-11 and 13-11 over Patriquin/Newell. Don’t be shocked if they get another one. The next match on court will be Matt/Riley vs. JW/Dekel. Hopefully that’s a tight one. For the women, all chalk but Todd/Bright had to fight hard against the Brascia’s 12-10 and 13-11. The Brascia’s are just better than I thought they were, especially Maggie.
Rafa/Julian win a tight one over Anderson/Greg. Those two make you work like hell for wins and Rafa/Julian had big leads in games 1 and 3, lost it in game 1 and then almost lost it in game 3. I have to think we’ll see them back in the gold as they will face Tito Lladro and Kinney, who win 15-13 over Cullen/DeHeart to go to bronze. Tough day for Tardio/Forsythe, who lost 16-14 to Cullen/DeHeart.
3:47 pm EST – Matt and Riley had to fight hard against Ignatowich and Staksrud to get to a quarter-final matchup where they’ll also have to fight against Dekel and JW. 12-10, 7-11 and 11-6 against the singles guys and it has to be frustrating that they have to face a stacked half of the draw because the PPA gives the Johns bros special treatment. The Johns will play Dylan and Zane next. The women’s bracket is just getting going with, surprise, a tough first round matchup for Parris and Anna against the Brascia’s.
Nothing too shocking on the APP side. Our top seeds in both divisions will play in the winners final. Hewett/Arnold vs. Scarpa/Dow and Stratman/Remynse vs. Oshiro/Johnson.
2:27 pm EST – The PPA sure loves showing its top players kick the crap out of bad teams. Couldn’t they at least show a decent matchup? In other news, Matt/Riley can’t be super happy about a looming Dekel/JW quarter final. They have to get through Fed and Ignatowich first, which isn’t a free ride at all either. That’s two tourneys in a row Ben/Collin have gotten lucky to avoid JW in men’s doubles. Sorry, did I say lucky? I meant it’s nice the PPA ensures Ben avoids JW before Sundays.
Deakin’s return to men’s doubles was not ideal. He and Spencer Smith lose 11-9 in the third to Kris Heddings and Randy Zbinden. Randy won a bronze with Deakin at the 2019 US Open. It looks like rumours of Zbinden’s demise have been greatly exaggerated (that’s a joke fyi). Bad loss for Deakin and Smith.
At the APP, more upsets as these lower tier “pros” just have a tougher time with the consistency. Forsythe is a borderline pro in the first place and it wasn’t good enough from Tardio and Forsythe overall, losing in 2 to locals Marshall Brown and Stephan Bass. Brown looks legitimately good though. The results do not appear flukey over the last two days for him. A name to keep an eye on.
1:04 pm EST – Arnold and Hewett were pushed by Vegas and Mullane, two unknowns, to a third game and down 5-4 in game 3, but they were able to get it together to win 11-5. They’ll play Cullen/DeHeart who got Motivar/Tellez in 3 tight ones, 11-8 in the third. Hewett and Arnold are vulnerable if you make them work as combined they give away too many points. But they are also so dynamic and weathering the storms from them is the big thing.
12:22 pm EST – We are into the men’s day at the APP and just getting started in Vegas. Nothing to report early on. All the top APP teams still alive early. We’ll check back in later and see whether the quarter finals bring any surprises.
Friday, October 7th – PPA and APP Mixed
10:48 pm EST – The Newman’s get bronze. They are still a force together even if Lindsey has been playing less these days. They didn’t drop a game today other than to AL and Ben.
10:14 pm EST – JW wants a triple crown. He wins in 3 over Bright and Loong with Parenteau. He is 2 for 2 getting to Sunday and has an outside legitimate shot to get there with Dekel Bar tomorrow. He looks motivated, at least as motivated as JW can look. It’ll be a tall task to beat AL and Ben, but it is not out of the realm.
Todd/Frazier had a really nice run in the backdraw before losing to the Newman’s, including an 18-16 win over Jay and Jessie. The bronze is still going on now as Tyson and Leigh Waters will get no worse than 4th. Tyson down at #13 on Stone’s men’s mixed list was borderline criminal as well.
6:53 pm EST – Rafa Hewett, the newly adopted hometown hero, comes away with gold at the Alabama Classic with Lauren Stratman. There were only about 200 viewers on the stream as we have the PPA going on at the same time, but there was definitely a crowd at the venue watching Rafa get the win. Fudge/DeHeart made them work after an easy game 1 but Stratman/Hewett prevailed. They were the best team on paper going into the day, but who knows what goes on with two players with their own inconsistencies and having never played together.
Callie Smith and AJ Koller have played Anna Leigh and Ben Johns as well as anyone all year. They have pushed them hard on multiple occasions, and they went up 6-4 at the switch in game 3. They couldn’t keep the momentum going as they lost 11-6 in the third. Smith and Koller are two players that can get really hot so when all that comes together, they are as dangerous as anyone. The trouble is keeping that momentum up.
How about Anna Bright and Tyler Loong? We have questioned amongst ourselves whether long-term Anna has been hurt a little by her partnership with Tyler as she hasn’t had to learn how to play the right as comfortably as maybe she needs to in mixed. However, this is quite a breakthrough to steamroll the uber consistent Irvine/Devilliers partnership 6 and 1. Anna’s stock is back on the rise in a serious way after the briefest of plateaus earlier in the summer.
Other results of note at the PPA. Schneemann and Bar with a little bit of a backdraw run as they find their way through Jansen and Wilson. Maggie Brascia and Iggy keep getting solid wins together. Maggie clearly underrated by us.
5:17 pm EST – As always these PPA mixed days become a slow burn as they work to get every quarter-final matchup on center court. Lucy/Matt go down to Parenteau/JW in 3 as JW and Catherine took over in games 2 and 3 going 11-1 and 11-4. Another early exit for the veterans Matt and Lucy. On the backside, Steve Deakin and Brooke Buckner get a nice win over Allyce/Chuck while Whitwell//Pat Smith squeak one out over Brascia/Staksrud, a good win as well.
Fudge/DeHeart defeat the kids again, this time needing 3 games, 11-5 in the third. Fudge does not have elite counter ability or weapons, but she is steady as heck, and holds her own. DeHeart looked dangerous out there today. It’s not always about big breakthroughs. These two are steadily improving and grinding their way to better results.
2:58 pm EST – Some interesting results to catch up on but let’s do our best. At the PPA, Mary Brascia/Federico Staksrud beat Parris Todd/Dylan Frazier in two games 8 and 6. Federico did not make Adam Stone’s top 25 mixed list and that seemed like a miss before today, but is clearly a big snub. Parris and Dylan have not done very well together either. The other notable APP vs. APP result is Maggie Brascia/Ignatowich getting by Schneemann/Bar in 3 games. To point to Stone’s rankings again, he had Dekel way too high at #5 on his list and this is yet another result to demonstrate why Dekel can’t be that high on any mixed list.
Outside of a couple of 3-gamers with Callie/AJ coming out on top of Jones/Taylor and Bright/Loong beating Jansen/Wilson, the PPA results are fairly standard fare.
On the APP side, Stratman/Hewett are in the winners bracket final and will play Fudge/DeHeart, who have had a big day together. They got by Johnson/Tardio 11-9 and 11-5, and this is definitely their best overall result together as a mixed duo so far. They secure a medal and beat two good teams in the process without dropping a game. Now, Remynse/Tellez lost to Sobek/Hendry 15-13 in the losers bracket, which has to be a pretty disappointing day. Nevertheless, it should not take away from the strong performance for DeHeart/Fudge.
12:47 am EST – No clue if anyone is following this APP but some weird results. Truong/Arnold lose in 3 to a couple of unknowns, Ewa Radsikowska and Marshall Brown. The unknowns played well, especially Ewa whose hands held up heads up against Julian. Howver, the bigger story has to be Truong and Arnold’s emotions on court. Arnold’s temperment can lead to bigger negative swings and it also appeared to cause some poor decision-making. It’s tough for Truong who must feel like this is her opportunity with Julian and looked as if she was playing not to screw up. Neither of them looked like they were having any fun.
11:37 am EST – My goodness. We clearly didn’t put enough respect on Fudge/DeHeart. They beat Tellez/Remynse 11-1 and 11-0. Sometimes it can be tough for a team to get going when they have that bye and that was the case with Tellez/Remynse, but they never figured it out. A ton of pressure put on by the married couple whose results have been very gradually improving with no major breakthroughs really outside of the odd good win here and there. That sets up a matchup for them with Tardio and Jorja Johnson in the semi-finals.
2:20 am EST – The mixed draws are generally pretty whatever. The question is now usually whether Jay and Jessie have a chance to lose on a Championship Sunday or a semi-final to Anna Leigh/Ben. This weekend it may be another Sunday as they get the 3 seed with the Newman’s as the 4 seed. Steve Deakin makes his return to a pro draw after over a year as he teams up with newcomer Brooke Buckner and will face the 17-year-old Patriquin in round 1.
We should be seeing a Jorja/Gabe vs Pablo/Remynse semi on one side and Lauren/Rafa vs. Truong/Arnold. Something must be up with Lauren and Julian as they aren’t playing together and Adam Stone said something was going on between them on his latest podcast episode. They clearly look to be together as a couple. Did they find out like so many others playing with your significant other is better in theory than reality? Could be a weird semi-final for them against one another if it goes there.
Thursday, October 6th – PPA Singles
11:57 pm EST – No stream for these losers bracket matches going pretty late into the evening. Salome Devidze has more trouble against Irina who gets to the net well but has the advantage over Anna Bright, who doesn’t have the court coverage up there as much. 11-8 and 12-10 for Devidze who benefits from the Todd withdrawal to pick up a bronze.
Frazier and Staksrud played each for bronze after wins against Devilliers (16-14) and Hunter Johnson (15-11) respectively. That’s more APP singles players in the mix for podiums when all is said and done. Frazier ends up with the bronze in 3 over Staksrud, 11-2 in the third to boot. So impressive what Frazier has done in singles over the summer. He’a a true threat even at the biggest tournaments.
9:40 pm EST – Jay gave Ben a couple of solid games but falls short, 11-8 and 11-7. So that means we get the matchup we want. JW vs. Ben. That will be some must see pickleball TV on Sunday.
Stream is over but backdraw rolls on. Frazier beat Ignatowich 15-11. Anna beat Irina 15-13. Particularly good win for Frazier whose singles game keeps getting better.
9:02 pm EST – JW Johnson has been a different player these past two PPAs. He smokes Federico in 2 games and it’s almost like Fed has never beaten him again. In the backdraw, there are a lot of withdrawals. Loong, McGuffin and Zane all decided no to a fairly lengthy backdraw day. We ought to find a nickname for Tyson’s withdrawals.
Anna Leigh killed Irina 0 and 1. No contest. And Salome got Mary Brascia 17-15 in the backdraw and will play for bronze.
7:44 pm EST – We have to start with Catherine Parenteau going to a Championship Sunday after a ginormous win over Parris Todd. Parenteau looked left for dead after going down 11-0 and 5-2, but then she roared back to win game 2 before winning game 3, 11-7. It’s really hard to win from the baseline and Parris Todd has not played any competitive pickleball recently. Todd lost a bit of that consistency on her ground strokes and Parenteau kept putting pressure on her to get to the net first. Todd stopped being able to pass Parenteau consistently and comes away with the loss. Todd does not move laterally at the net at an elite level it would appear. It is her first tournament back in singles but we’ll see if she can keep winning without coming to the net consistently and relying on her ground strokes to keep her opponents away.
Ben Johns staved off a loss against Tyler Loong. He won big 11-1 in game 1, lost game 2 in a close one and then Loong was up 6-5 in game 3 before Ben ran through him to win 11-6. Johns will face Devilliers in the semis while Federico and JW are playing the other semi right now.
Notable backdraw results are Hunter Johnson going 15-4 over Christian Alshon and Anna Bright winning 15-7 against Callie.
6:04 pm EST – Quite the day here. The biggest result so far is Federico Staksrud winning in about as close a way as humanly possible over Tyson McGUffin. Federico lost game one 8-11 before winning 13-11 and 12-10 in games 2 and 3. That’s actually a really good match from Tyson and demonstrates he is still right there with these up and coming players. It’s not going to feel good to barely lose as moral victories don’t bring home the bacon. Nevertheless, a fascinating result and it’s too bad it wasn’t on a stream.
Other noteworthy early-ish results are from Zane Navratil’s part of the draw as he beat Ignatowich in 2 games, 4 and 8. Zane’s singles stock has been falling in our eyes as players get used to his serve, and it was expected that he wouldn’t be as dangerous in at his first PPA event in a blue moon. However, the win over Ignatowich after James had been able to handle Zane with the spin serve last time they faced off was quite interesting. Zane then had an APP throwback match with Devilliers, and Jay was able to get Zane in two games. In the other quarter-final matches going on, Tyson is playing Fed and JW is playing Dylan as all four through potentially tough matches with relative ease.
Parris Todd looks on point. The ground strokes are penetrating and Callie looked overmatched in game 1 with an inability to get to the net with the upper hand with any sort of regularity against Todd. Smith found her stride to a degree in game 2 but it wasn’t enough against Todd, as she lost 12-10 in the 2nd. Catherine Parenteau is in the semi-finals after beating Anna Bright in 3 games, which is a big win for Catherine and she’ll get a rematch against Parris Todd from San Clemente.
The surprising result on the women’s side was Irina beating Salome Devidze 11-1 and 11-8. Salome has been getting results and Irina has not so to see Salome go down that easily was not expected at all. Anna Leigh beat Mary Brascia 13-11, 11-1 after a very close call on a ball by AL to win game 1 too. ALwill play Irina.
2:58 pm EST – It’s been a very slow day for the PPA as I have to expect the play-in scenario this morning put them behind the 8-ball to some degree. We have some exciting matchups coming up as these quarter-final matchups get set. Tyson McGuffin is going to play Christian Alshon, who beat Alex Neumann in 3 games. Jay Devfilliers beat Connor Garnett in 2 games, 6 and 8, showing Garnett he’s not quite ready for prime time. Federico is going to play Hunter Johnson. JW will likely play Stefan Auvergne, who gets a surprise win over Yates Johnson in 3 games. Dylan Frazier got through Jack Foster and will likely play Sher Bear. Tyler Loong and FAD. And we’re likely shaping up for a Zane vs. James Ignatowich matchup. Things should get juicy as the day goes along.
10:40 am EST – Singles PPA day. The best day of the weekend! In an all-time shocker, Ben Johns is not on the same half of the draw of JW Johnson and Anna Leigh somehow avoided Parris Todd. It’s almost as if the PPA got exactly what they wanted. Now, James Ignatowich is in Ben’s half of the draw but they can’t keep Ben away from every top player in this field. Nothing free in this draw as we have the play-in starting right about now and there are some good players left in that play-in bracket.
Also notable on the women’s side is Lea Jansen is missing from the draw. We have to presume health issues continue to plague her, but we are only guessing there. Thankfully for Catherine Parenteau, she finally avoids Salome in her area of the draw. We’ll see if that jolts her towards a big day as she went undrafted in our fantasy preview for the first time ever.