4 more days of pickleball at one of the more interesting PPA events in recent outings simply because we have more APP players involved. It is too bad Parris Todd has backed out of the singles draw but it sti should be a fun one.
Sunday, September 18th – Championship Sunday
5:38 pm EST – JW was a man on a mission in singles this weekend and it culminates in gold. It took 4 games over Julian Arnold. JW looked like a different man this weekend in singles.
4:52 pm EST – After losing game 1, likely due to the previous match hangover for AL and slow start syndrome to Ben, the pair go on to win 6, 6 and 10. Riley and Catherine made AL work for her triple crown, including getting a game point in the 4th game. They were too much though again today. Triple crown for Anna Leigh. She’ll have earned the ice cream tonight.
3:30 pm EST – The Waters are back on top at the PPA after a back and forth 5 game victory. The turning point seemed to be coming back from 10-2 down in game 3 and making it close to 11-9. AL is a monster out there. She takes so much court even though she’s not very tall. She was the difference and wasn’t too tired after her singles match. Mama Waters isn’t going anywhere yet either.
12:23 pm EST – What a win for the Johns brothers in 3 straight games. Down 10-1 in game 1 and they came back to win 12-10. You can’t get loose even when up big. Matt had a silly moving in transition lob when they were up big and they might have been feeling too good about themselves. Collin and Ben got used to the speed after that initial wave at the beginning. Ben blocked a lot on his backhand instead of countering every ball and JW/Dylan showed the way as they used a ton of middle dinks to neutralize how often Matt and Riley sped them up. Collin’s level on the counters was very high too. The Johns bros made adjustments and it’ll be interesting the next time to see what Matt and Riley come up with
11:22 pm EST – This was the most competitive women’s singles match we have seen at a PPA since Parris Todd beat Anna Leigh Waters. Callie Smith brought a really high level today and almost took game 3 against Anna Leigh. They went back and forth dor a while at 8-8, Callie had a game point but once she lost that was it. AL rolls in game 4 and wins 7-11, 11-8, 12-10 and 11-1. Anna Leigh essentially complained publicly in a very nice way after her women’s doubles semi that the Championship Sunday best of 5s are too much for her. This had to be a grindier match than she was expecting so we’ll see how her level is. The one thing is that she really hasn’t played all that much on the previous days, especially women’s singles and doubles where it’s two matches then she’s in a final. Nevertheless, the PPA caters to its players so this could mean change will come.
Saturday, September 17th – Doubles
9:29 pm EST – Lucy and Callie pull out what has to be a blah kind of feeling bronze for them, 11-9 and 12-10. Tough weekend for Catherine in women’s and singles. She’ll end up with a silver in mixed at worst, but you can’t help think there may be regret on the partnership switch. Things can turn, though. They had very good early results when the Waters took their break. We’ll see.
8:53 pm EST – It’s a bit of a shame they are cutting off the streams before the backdraw finishes. Although, their numbers both in the crowd and on the stream reduce pretty drastically once the winner’s bracket stuff is done. Chuck Taylor/Pat Smith end a strong 4th place day with a whimper against JW and Dylan, who are clearly a top 3 team in these PPA fields. No one else gave them any trouble today and they were an inch from taking the match away from the team that has won the last 2 PPA events.
On the women’s side, Anna Leigh Waters and Leigh made it look very easy against Parenteau and Jansen, going 11-5 and 11-1. It’ll be fun to see the Waters going against Irvine/Bright for a rematch of last weekend, this time in a best 3 out of 5. The Waters should be hungry to show they are still top dogs out there. There is always chatter of how long Leigh can continue playing with her daughter. Regardless of the fact they are still competitive, what can get lost in that discussion is how much Anna Leigh probably enjoys playing with Leigh. Until they are no longer competitive, why should they break up if they are both having lots of fun? Anna Leigh is making bank not from prize money, but from all the other stuff anyway.
6:06 pm EST – Anna and Jessie lost game 2 in a romp after winning game, and decided to switch their stack to Anna on the right. Callie continued to see a ton of balls as she struggles at that level to create offence on her backhand side. She still hasn’t figured out that one-handed backhand roll attack, which limits their ability to create offence. Another Sunday for Anna and Jessie
Matt and Riley are going back to a final. They lost game 1 and were down in game / to Tyler and Spencer before taking over. The Utah pair haven’t been playing together this year but they sure make teams earn it when they team up. They don’t have the combined horses against the top teams though.
4:03 pm EST – The men’s side has been pretty interesting so far today. Koller/Newell seemed like a boom or bust type partnership, but to be as bust as they were against Loong/Spencer Smith, losing 11-1 and 11-0, was definitely not expected. Loong/Smith are two guys who will make you earn it. Koller/Newell’s day was ended by JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier. Another easily handled match was Jay/Tyson over Callan/DJ at 6 and 5. Jay and Tyson, two guys who appear to be figuring it out, and definitely did not quit early on their partnership. They’ll play the Johns brothers to see if they can get an upset win to the semi-finals. Two band back together partnerships today with Loong/Smith and DJ/Callan, but things not going as well for DJ/Callan, who proceeded to lose in the backdraw 15-13 to Pat Smith/Chuck Taylor.
The women’s doubles stuff is pretty boring, honestly. Same 4 teams, just different matchups. Lucy/Callie will play Anna/Jessie. Catherine/Lea will play the Waters. Neither of these 4 teams dropped a game in their one match so far today
12:12 pm EST – Wow, Dylan and JW had a match point on Riley and Matt, but they lose 12-10 in the third. After losing game 1, Dylan/JW rolled in game 2 to the tune of 11-0 and almost get the upset of Matt/Riley. Wright sped up JW on match point and JW put the forehand counter long. They were that close to getting the win and this is where it is sad not to have the backdraw. It’s clear that JW and Dylan are right there at the top of the game, and would clearly match up well with Ben/Collin as well. In a way it’s a shame we don’t get to see this more but, man, the anticipation for the next time they are in a draw is sky high.
Speaking of close matches, Koller/Newell almost lost to Jack Foster/Ryler DeHeart. Foster, not known for his doubles game at all, putting in a surprising performance. Apparently, the two were down to Koller/Newman a game and 7-0 in the second before pulling out game 2 and being up at 9 in game 3. It’s tough to close out those games against the better teams, especially for a far less seasoned doubles player.
2:56 am EST – Hey, what a big shocker, Dylan Frazier and JW Johnson are not on the same side of the draw as Ben and Collin Johns. Couldn’t bave seen that one coming. Dylan and JW don’t match up as well against Riley and Matt so a Championship Sunday appearance for them with this draw is less likely. They don’t get the hands advantage.
We also get a flip flop of potential semi-finals women’s matches with the 1 through 4 seeds from last week. What a nice, random coin flip to allow that to occur.
Friday, September 16th – Mixed
7:26 pm EST – The bronze stallion is back! Irvine and Devilliers get the tough half of the draw with Anna Leigh/Ben, but the bronze stallion was not going to be denied today. After a win against Lucy/Matt, Irvine/Devlliers cleaned up against Callie/AJ, 11-2 and 11-5, in the bronze medal match. Weird day for Callie/AJ who were oddly non-competitive in both of their losses. Jessie and Jay, on the other hand, continue their consistent run as their biggest issue is a lack of weapons to combat the firepower of the number 1 team in the world.
5:54 pm EST – As we get later in the day, the day definitely becomes more boring and predictable. It’s going to be Anna Leigh/Ben against Catherine/Riley for the gold. They both cruised to wins in the semi-finals in 2 easy games respectively. Much like March Madness, upsets are fun early but they make the more important matches less intriguing sometimes. You have to believe Catherine/Riley were happier to see Jones/Smith as opposed to Lucy/Matt. We’ll see if Catherine/Riley can give Anna Leigh/Ben any trouble on Sunday, but the dominance Anna Leigh/Ben have put forth today has been impressive to say the least.
3:41 pm EST – It’s been a rough last 3 tournaments for Wright and Kovalova together. Today, they lose their quarter-final match to Allyce Jones and Spencer Smith in 3 tight ones. They were down match points in game 2 and came back, and almost did the same in game 3 when they were down 10-6. The question for this pairing is what is going on? We are seeing Lucy’s results in mixed and women’s slip whereas Matt Wright is playing at as high a level as ever in men’s, albeit on the right side of the court. We wondered at the start of the year when this team was struggling whether there was some staleness to such a long-time partnership. A big question now is whether Kovalova is slipping or if the rest of the field is catching up to her game, which really hasn’t had a noticeable change in a while. On the other side, it’s Allyce Jones’ first big mixed result in a while. Jones’ lack of weapons but elite defence is a much better fit for mixed than it is for women’s doubles.
Anna Leigh and Ben made really quick work of Callie/AJ. 11-0 and 11-2. Sheesh.
These mixed brackets are so tough now. DJ and Anna Bright go 0-2 after losing their first loser’s match to Mary Brascia and Federico Staksrud, 15-13. Jansen/Loong squeak it out in 3 over Schneemann and Pat Smith, which left Schneemann/Smith to play Todd/Frazier for their first loser’s match and they proceeded to lose 15-8 to Todd/Frazier. Todd and Frazier then lost to husband and wife duo Megan Fudge and Ryler DeHeart. The key takeaway from this is to make sure you don’t lose then you don’t have to play crapshoot games to 15 in the back draw.
1:04 pm EST – A couple of very interesting early mixed results to start the day. The early results are usually the better ones because the top teams have byes or you get middle of the pack teams playing each other. Anna Bright and DJ Young lose to Lacy Schneemann and Patrick Smith. Schneemann sure has an interesting style of play that is not the most conventional. Nevertheless, Bright/Young were up 8-2 in Game 3 before giving up 9 straight points to lose 11-8. That mental side of things is always going to be a battle for DJ and there were some questionable shot choices for both Bright and Young on that run. Nice win for Lacy and Pat.
Another surprise win is Mary Brascia/Staksrud over Frazier/Todd. Brascia and Fed played together last weekend and were fine. This one is a top notch win – 8-11, 12-10 and 11-4. So they almost lost game 2 and are playing Leigh Waters/Tyson, which could be a match.
Two more results of note. Shelby Bates and Christian Alshon over Meghan Sheehan-Dizon/Callan Dawson in 3 games, including 11-9 in the third. Alshon had a strong 4th place finish yesterday in singles and those mixed results come faster for the tennis guys, but that’s not a quality loss for Sheehan-Dizon/Dawson. No stream yesterday so we still haven’t seen Alshon play, but he has to be pretty good. Shelby Bates is a name that is slowly working up these 5.0/pro brackets too. Finally, Alvaro Terron and Jenna Hessert had a very close loss to Fudge/DeHeart, 11-9 in the third. Terron following up yesterday’s big Tyson win with a quality first round loss.
2:02 am EST – It is funny how these PPA singles days are becoming the most interesting ones and it is because of the storylines. Questionable draws, PPA vs. APP, new blood. It all leads to intrigue. The mixed days are less interesting. Anna Leigh and Ben will likely face Jay and Jessie in one semi-final while Matt/Lucy are probably destined to see Catherine/Riley. There are some interesting teams out there. Parris Todd/Dylan Frazier, Anna Bright/DJ Young and it’s possible Tyler Loong may have more in the tank for Lea Jansen with no singles the day before. We’ll see if we get some different semi-finals today but the intrigue going into the day isn’t the same as singles that’s for certain.
Thursday, September 15th – Singles
9:23 pm EST – Quite the day. Benny Backdraw unironically wins bronze today after beating Staksrud 18-16 and then Christian Alshon 11-8, 11-3. Apparently Staksrud had match point on his forehand but missed. And you have to think he wasn’t going to let the most hyped player you have never seen beat him. Does this cement the APP men’s singles over the PPA.
Anna Bright with a very nice bronze. It’s always hard losing in the main draw and playing that first game of the loser’s right after. Salome lost to Callie Smith, who gets a nice opportunity at Championship Sunday, and then lost to Mary Brascia first losers match. Callie Smith not dead in singles!
6:30 pm EST – Big Ben goes down before Sunday for the 2nd straight week. He loses to Julian Arnold 11-3 and 11-8. It could have been just me but I thought Ben looked really lethargic in game 2 for a guy who should have been really motivated to get an opportunity to go against JW in the final. Neither Ben nor JW are emotional guys really, but Ben looked like some kind of in between of winners bracket Ben and Benny Backdraw. It was weird to watch. Julian almost cramped up in game 2 but was able to pull it out. He has played JW tough at times this year so it could be a real match on Sunday in a no-PPA men’s final. We won’t see it on a stream but if Benny Backdraw does play against Fed, we’d be curious to hear how his energy is. He cannot be enthused to play someone really good right after losing.
It’s been a real fall for Catherine Parenteau too. She falls to Anna Bright, 15-11, in the match to go to bronze. Bright has had a number of these and you have to think she’s hoping to see Callie Smith instead of Salome Devidze later today.
5:38 pm EST – There’s sometimes a reason a player is the most hyped player you have never seen play. Pros don’t hype up other pros for no reason most of the time. Christian Alshon is going to play for bronze as he beat Dylan Frazier 15-8, avenging his loss earlier in the day to Frazier. We should get the chance to see him in the bronze medal and it will be a good intro for the man who quit his senior year of college tennis to pursue pro pickleball.
It does not get much easier for Anna Leigh. Jansen withdraws so she beats Bright 1 and 2. Bright appears limited in her singles ceiling, and Anna Leigh gets an essential walkthrough to Sunday.
4:20 pm EST – JW Johnson takes it over Dylan Frazier in a match with more cat and mouse than there probably was in all the other matches today combined. JW should have lost game 2 but got the benefit of a finishing ball that Dylan hit off the tape. It was not meant to be for Dylan today as he loses 11-5, 13-11. JW Johnson will get his chance at a gold medal on Sunday. It’s really hard to tell when JW is extra focused from his outward demeanor but you have to think this tournament has got his engine close to full capacity.
Another Christian Alshon update for the day. He wins 15-3 over Jay Devilliers and will now play Dylan Frazier to go to the bronze medal match. That’s a full run in the back draw and he’ll get another chance against Frazier in a game to 15.
Anna Leigh Waters will play Anna Bright in the semi-finals after Jansen withdrew. We’re thinking Jansen might be having an issue with her diabetes that hasn’t been so much of a problem this year but it’s something that never really goes away. This match will play the winner of Devidze versus Callie Smith. We’ll see if Bright can give Anna Leigh any trouble.
2:00 pm EST – Poor Catherine Parentaeu. 3 tournaments since the break and 3 matchups with Salome Devidze. It’s a bad matchup for Catherine who doesn’t quite cover the net well enough to go up there consistently against Salome and win, but she can’t go groundstroke for groundstroke with her either. It’s a tough dilemma and, even though she got game 1, it can’t be sustained over the course of a match for Parenteau it seems against Devidze. Devidze won 11-4 in game 3 but she was up 9-1. Devidze will now face Callie Smith for the opportunity to get to a Championship Sunday.
For the men, Dylan Frazier beat Alvaro Terron 7 and 9, setting himself up with another shot at JW. On the other side, we’ll have Ben Johns playing Rafa Hewett with the winner going on to face Julian Arnold. Julian eeked out a 3 game win against Jay Devilliers, 8-11, 11-9 and 11-4. Good win for Arnold who keeps getting some pretty good singles results while Devilliers continues to fall back in the pack. Don’t sleep on the bronze stallion though who is now in his backdraw element!
12:59 pm EST – JW wants that throne. After a string of losses to Staksrud, JW goes 11-1 and 11-4 in an entirely non-competitive match. JW isn’t playing many PPAs and he’s only entering singles and men’s doubles this weekend. It all looks like someone who is on a mission. He is a guy who may be mentally bored from the same events each week.
12:07 pm EST – Everything was going about as expected this morning until Tyson McGuffin lost to Alvara Terron. Terron is someone you see in draws get some wins but nothing notable really. He’s another college tennis guy, obviously. Terron beat Tyson today and he did it after getting pickled in game 1. Not a great loss for Tyson and a reminder that McGuffin’s shelf life is probably limited here. Terron will play Dylan Frazier in the quarter-finals, who was able to beat most hyped player you have never seen, Christian Alshon, 11-9 and 11-7. We are keeping our eye on Christian Alshon who had a quality 3-game win over Hayden Patriquin in his 2nd match and is clearlyvery much in the mix as all these pros said we should expect prior to him even entering a pro event.
Some other early results to mention. JW Johnson and Federico Staksrud are up next on centre court, which is quite funny when you consider how the draw has shaken out. They both had to work to get to where they are as JW only beat Ryler DeHeart 12-10, 11-8 and Staksrud had to take down Jake Kusmider, 11-7 and 11-9.It’s not a shocking loss but Frank Anthony Davis lost his first round match in in 3 games to Tito Lladro, 11-9 in the third.
2:18 am EST – As always, quite a bit to unpack with a PPA singles day before any play happens. The PPA has randomly found Staksrud and JW Johnson on the same quarter of the draw and, guess what, they are on Tyson’s half of the bracket this week. The draw follows Ben’s harsh draw last weekend and Tyson’s cupcake run to the final, which conspiracy NML thinks might have to do with Ben showing up late to his gold medal singles match at TOC. Christian Alshon and Dylan’s Frazier are in Tyson’s quarter so there isn’t anything as free as last weekend.
For the ladies, Anna Leigh continues to avoid Salome Devidze in her half of the bracket while Parris Todd has dropped out altogether. What has Catherine Parenteau done to deserve a possible Devidze matchup for the 3rd straight tournament? Callie Smith and Lea Jansen have flip flopped with the coin toss for 3rd and 4th seeds so we are unlikely to see Jansen in another PPA final.