PPA Tour Tournament of Champions – Live Random Thoughts
Reminder that we have a unique Wednesday start with the host city of Brigham City, Utah, and the tournament concluding on Saturday. Get your fix of thoughts and analysis from the first PPA tourney coming off the summer break.
Saturday, August 20th – Championship Satuday
11:09 pm EST – Well, we finally got a real match. Riley/Matt win in 4 against the Johns bros. The Johns bros took game 1 where Ben’s hands looked like the best out there and he was even wagging the finger because he was feeling so good. But a big turn in game 2 with it going 11-1 the other way. Game 3 was the decider and could have gone either way. Ben had a weird ball off the net at game point, 10-8, and put it into the net. Riley/Matt came out on top 12-10 and rolled in game 4, 11-5. Matt/Riley have their strategy against the Johns and there is no fear of Ben. Anytime either player would get a ball to their preferred side, it was a speed up and they live with a loss. It was all working today for Riley and Matt, and it has to be discouraging for Ben when you get relentlessly attacked yet again and lose.
9:27 pm EST – Tough day for the PPA so far. Not one match has gone more than the minimum 3 games and for their last two matches of the day they got the boot from Tennis Channel due to weather delay in other programming. The Waters goes 11-8, 12-10 and 11-5 against Callie/Lucy and it seems quite clear the Waters are the best female team in pickleball currently. That has shifted from the first quarter of the year. Triple Crown for Anna Leigh. We’ll see if Ben can do it next.
8:02 pm EST – Pretty boring Championship day so far. 3 matches, 9 games. AL/Ben are dominant over Callie/AJ. Still a great weekend for Callie and AJ.
3:08 pm EST – The two singles matches are the two least interesting typically at these events. That proves true today as Ben Johns and Anna Leigh both won their respective matches with ease. 3 games for both of them and neither of them were pushed by Frazier or Jansen. For Frazier especially, it’s a monstrous silver medal. And it seems Jansen can’t find a way to get over the hump against AL. There’s no signs of that changing any time soon.
Friday, August 19th – Doubles
1:33 am EST – Last one of the day was the women’s bronze with the APP duo of David and Barr coming out on top. They made the Waters work earlier in the day and then they get through Jansen/Parenteau 11-7, 11-6. There were a few too many errors and just so many balls come back playing the Waters. Barr and David both get a ton of balls back themselves, even if it is sometimes hard to understand how Barr is doing it. Jansen had a bad 4 or 5 rally stretch at the end of game 1 and that’s all it takes.This is now two weekends in a row for David getting good results with a higher end partner while Barr’s women’s results have finally more or less caught up with her mixed results in terms of consistency.
11:57 pm EST – The Waters are so impressive these days. Anna Leigh has really figured out that balance if aggression and letting Mama Waters do her part. She covers the court so smoothly and is so dominant out there. She’s the only woman out there who can truly take over a match. Very impressive win over Catherine and Lea.
The day is over as Loong and Dawson get the withdrawal win over Wilson and Koller. Not sure what happened there.
11:12 pm EST – Callie and Lucy pull it out over Jessie and Anna after a longggg rain delay. Two championship matches will be rocking with Callie in them. 11-5 in the third. They got beat pretty bad by the Waters at Skechers last weekend so I bet they’d be much happier seeing Lea and Catherine.
7:20 pm EST – We are currently in a rain delay that they say is to resume at 11pm EST (9pm MT) with Lucy/Callie up 2-0 in game 3 after pulling out game 2 against Jessie/Anna. We are also still waiting on the other women’s semi-final to be played after with Catherine/Lea against the Waters. No surprises overall but the Jessie/Anna one if they could find a way would be a big breakthrough.
On the men’s side, we have another Johns vs. Riley/Matt final. The Johns had a tough match against Jay/Tyson, only winning 11-8 in the third after dropping game 2, 12-10. It will be interesting to see if Riley/Matt can give them some trouble again because those are two tight games for the Johns against lesser teams.
On the loser’s side, we’ll have a bronze with AJ/Thomas facing off against Callan/Tyler. Callan/Tyler got the win 18-16 against Dylan/DJ, which is two really strong wins for those two players. Callan, in particular, has done a really good job continuing to add to his game as one of the few legacy players out there still relevant in the game of pickleball. AJ/Thomas got the win over Tyson/Jay, which means we only got one bronze medal from the bronze stallion this weekend.
2:55 pm EST – All the men’s quarter-final matches are done and the one sort of surprise in the semi-finals has to be Loong/Dawson. They did make the drafted teams of our fantasy draft preview but getting a tight 3 game win over Koller/Wilson is a bit of a statement for them. They are a team that is going to make you work for everything even if there are not elite weapons outside of Callan’s lob and Tyler’s Erne. On the other hand, Wilson/Koller’s disappointing year continues as Thomas Wilson has hit a wall of sorts it feels like. It’s tough to keep progressing but he has not had the elite results for some time. Loong/Dawson will have a hard time with Riley/Matt but they are showing as a team they can get strong results.
Jay/Tyson get a semi-final appearance after a relatively straightforward draw, although the win over Cassidy/Taylor must have been somewhat of a relief after they lost to them early in the year. They will get the Johns brothers who dispatched with Frazier/Young with relative ease. It is worth mentioning Austin Gridley/Todd Fought pushed the Johns brothers hard, losing 11-8 in the third, earlier in the day.
It’s still early in the women’s day and these draws do not usually have upsets early. Jessie/Anna breezed past Meghan/Allyce and Lucy/Kovalova the same to the Brascia sisters. I wouldn’t expect much but I’ll be curious if Vivienne David and Susannah Barr can give the Waters any trouble.
Thursday, August 18th – Mixed
7:36 pm EST – Anna Leigh and Ben in the final easily today over Jessie and Jay, who battled in the bronze match with Lucy/Matt. It’s been weird out there all day for Matt and Lucy. They end up 4th place but it is one of the sleepiest 4th places you’ll see. It felt like they had no energy all day. It’d be nice to sleepwak through a pro mixed day and get 4th, but something sure looked off with them. On a positive note, the bronze stallion, Jay Devilliers, finds another bronze medal. They looked good today outside of the loss to Anna Leigh and Ben.
5:00 pm EST – It’s a hometown W for Callie as she is into the gold medal match after getting it done against Matt/Lucy in 3. Callie/AJ came right after Matt/Lucy who did not seem to have anything close to their best stuff today even in the game 2 that they won. It’s a breakthrough of sorts for Callie/AJ and they were really due.
3:55 pm EST – The Utah girl Callie Smith and AJ Koller get a big win over the Newman’s to head to the semi-finals against Matt/Lucy. It didn’t seem like Riley or Lindsey’s best out there, and Callie/AJ were able to get the points when they mattered most. The Newman’s withdraw from the backside as many of these PPA contracted players tend to do because, well, why would you play for basically no reward. Stringing multiple big wins together has been tough for Callie/AJ this year but it has felt for a long time like they are due for a big result.
Ben and Anna Leigh will play Jessie/Jay, and there’s not too much we can expect new from that much. Jessie/Jay don’t have the firepower to give Ben/Anna Leigh enough trouble it would seem. But hey, you never know.
2:52 pm EST – They are doing the quarter-finals one at a time so we have two in the books right now. Jay/Jessie handled Catherine/Collin with much less trouble than the last time they faced one another. Collin being offensive from that right side of the court still looks like a work in progress. Lucy/Matt then had a fairly routine time against Leigh Waters/Tyson, going 11-8 and 11-2. Lucy/Matt against either the Newman’s or Callie/AJ should be interesting regardless.
1:20 pm EST – There have been a number of close matches so far today but everything is going as expected. Erik Lange and Mary Brascia were up 5-1 in the third on Matt/Lucy, but after a timeout Mary/Erik had the server wrong then never got the ball back. DJ/Susannah also played AJ/Callie to 3 games, 11-8, 9-11 and 11-3. Parenteau/Johns over David/Wilson, 11-8 and 11-9. We’ll see how the rest of these matches go but for the time being we’re likely going to be getting some form of the top teams in the gold medal match.
Wednesday, August 17th – Singles
9:48 pm EST – No bronze stallion bronze as Jay goes down to Hunter Johnson in 3, including an 11-0 beat down in the third. Hunter Johnson continuing to make waves.
Irina gets bronze over Devidze. The line calls are becoming quite the storyline for Devidze. The jig is up though and players aren’t having it.
7:59 pm EST – Dylan Frazier into his first PPA singles final. Frazier has added a two-handed backhand that he is now using more frequently and his singles game overall is just improved. He keeps winning, this time with a 2-game win over rising star James Ignatowich. He’ll get the chance to face Ben Johns. If you all recall, Dylan beat Ben at the first PPA tournament of the year. What a recent run for Dylan in singles. For bronze, it’ll be Hunter Johnson vs. Jay “the Bronze Stallion” Devilliers who benefitted from an Ignatowich retirement, 15-4. Hopefully Iggy isn’t hurt.
On the women’s side, Anna Leigh is into the final. She’ll play Lea Jansen who got the win over Salome Devidze, 11-7 and 11-7. There were line judges for this match after presumably Jansen requested line judges because of Salome’s terrible line-calling – PPA confirmed a player requested line judges. Salome had a game point overturned in her match against Parenteau. The blatant cheating is not going unnoticed by pro players.
6:12 pm EST – Quite the day here at Brigham City. First it is Tyson McGuffin going down to Hunter Johnson (and withdrawing from the backside fater 1 match). Now it is Catherine Parenteau losing to APP line call star, Salome Devidze, in 2 games. This is a real surprise win and it really shows that those APP reps for newcomers are helping immensely. Salome has been playing a bunch of singles draws and keeps getting better. This is Catherine’s second loss in recent tournaments to APP players – the last time was less surprising when she lost to Todd. We’ve had two significant withdrawals with Callie Smith and Anna Bright not playing today so it is not nearly as deep a female singles draw, but it will be interesting to see if Lea Jansen stomps Devidze or if it is a real game.
Tough go for Staksrud against Ben Johns in the semi-final. Johns went through him quite easily in game 1 and there was a tight 11-9 game 2. Ben seems to be featuring what appears to be an improved two-handed backhand drive that we have seen him drilling more on social media posts recently. Dylan Frazier will play James Ignatowich to see who goes to a Championship Sunday on the top side of the draw
A name we may have to keep in mind is Cam Luhring. He lost to James Ignatowich in 3 games in round 1 and then won 3 games in the backdraw before losing to Ryan Sherry, 16-14. Neither of us have seen him play but those are quality results with wins against Barrientos and Kyle Lewis.
3:02 pm EST – This is going to be fun today. No upsets early but Tyson McGuffin is about to hit center court to play Hunter Johnson. If Tyson makes it to Championship Saturday today, he will definitely have earned it. His road could feature Hunter Johnson, Dylan Frazier and James Ignatowich. That’s not easy by any stretch as Hunter has all of them have hit podiums at APP events this year. We’re going to get an opportunity to see how these APP players stack up against the PPA ones who have not been playing much in the way of competitive singles. Federico will play Jay with the right to likely see Ben Johns.
1:52 pm EST – This is going to be fun today. No upsets early but Tyson McGuffin is about to hit center court to play Hunter Johnson. If Tyson makes it to Championship Saturday today, he will definitely have earned it. His road could feature Hunter Johnson, Dylan Frazier and James Ignatowich. That’s not easy by any stretch as Hunter has all of them have hit podiums at APP events this year. We’re going to get an opportunity to see how these APP players stack up against the PPA ones who have not been playing much in the way of competitive singles. Federico will play Jay with the right to likely see Ben Johns.
35 thoughts on “PPA Tour Tournament of Champions – Live Random Thoughts”
The refs were overruling devidze a few times. The one in the last game against Irina at 7-3 she called out, seemed.obvious, but ref overturned it. Seemed she felt pressured to do so to me. Could become a reputation thing. Refs more willing to overturn calls of certain players.
They should be more willing for her. She should have no benefit of the doubt
She was overruled 3 times in that match w Irina. Seems like if you hit a winner on her and it’s near a line she just calls it out. If they overrule no biggie, she has no shame.
She doesn’t care and will take the chance. Not sure how you can punish her either
I don’t always love the way Irina carries herself on court but I did enjoy when the hot mic picked up her exclaiming “you try to cheat on everything” to Devidze when she wanted a new ball
Agreed on both points!
Is Devidze trying to be a capital “V” Villain in pickleball? It sure makes it more satisfying when she loses, but, man, she’s burning bridges with all the other players. If she tries to break out of her singles specialist role, will anyone want to partner with her? I can understand people putting up with personality clashes for the sake of winning more, but I’d imagine a lot of players would not want the figurative asterisk by their results by partnering with a known cheater.
Just saw the MXD bracket and she’s partnered with Frazier. Really interested to see what happens there, especially if they end up playing Matt and Lucy in the second round. I hope that match is on center court, and we get some hot mic trash talking from Matt and Lucy!
Bad day for Dylan and Salome. They didnt even get there
She isn’t good enough now as a doubles player to matter but that’s the only way she can really get punished. I think she’s not trying to be a villain. She knows she can get away with it and doesn’t care
Salome definitely was getting all that she has given with IT. Several calls were fraudulently overturned, but as NML mentioned, SD has clearly lost the benefit of doubt. It’s good for the game. Save the “heels” for Pro Wrestling.
“fraudulently overturned”? Are you saying Devidze made correct out calls, which the refs reversed with bad intent? She may not be entitled to the benefit of the doubt, but refs should only change bad calls they see.
All the comments so far about Devidze. Nothing else to talk about?
People like controversy. Yes but if it is really close refs may need to treat her differently
A favorable comment about the PPA: it is posting scores on its website (ppatour.com), so we are no longer dependent on pbt.com for results. Although it doesn’t work well for me — I can only see the top half (or quarter?) of the mixed bracket. Matt/Lucy to Riley/Lindsey.
They may be working out the kinks but everyone should be better about providing their own results, especially for non-pickleball people who have no clue what pb tournaments is
I think it would be better to have a single website that provides all scores and stats, like ESPN or CBS sports. (pbt.com is too hard to use, even for those with a clue.) But pb is not big enough yet, I guess, to merit ESPN-type treatment. I’d like you guys to be the one stop spot for pb news and commentary, but you still may have real jobs.
The problem is real jobs. Appreciate it though. The other thing is what is fun is the opinion but constantly having to keep up with everything immediately is a lot of work especially when you don’t make money doing it
Speaking of senior pros, its good to see the elderly in some pb advertising: Rick Barry hawking AloeMD, and Scott Crandall and Dayne Gingrich peddling Electrum paddles.
Those Dayne ads will have to be phased out…
Why? Did he switch paddle sponsors?
If that’s what you mean, I wonder how long Franklin will continue to make Ben Johns signature paddles. Check you your local Walmart — the ones near me have all beefed up their Franklin Johns series — 3 different price points.
And Selkirk still runs Riley Newman ads.
Dayne is with Proxr now
All the pros should contact all their sponsors and say “Hey, never sponsor Devidze”, that gross cheating behavior can’t be rewarded.
Really interesting to watch ALW/Ben vs Jessie/Jay the semi-final. ALW isn’t even the least bit intimated by Jay and relentlessly attacked him head on relentlessly with success. It got so bad that he and Jessie switched sides.
Tyson isn’t without blame but from watching this match you can really see why the two of them struggle together. Opponents don’t fear their hands and can be really aggressive with them.
That’s correct I think. No one is afraid of their hands. Their partnership does not complement one another whereas their previous partnerships both did
Meaning that Riley and Patrick had better hand speed than Tyson and Jocelyn?
Yes. Pat is powerful and Riley is Riley
Funny to see the PPA got the boot from their “scheduled” Tennis slot. Wonder what happened.
Tennis Channel slot
Weather delays for other programming
Thank goodness for Matt and Riley salvaging a very boring day of championship matches. Man that was fun to watch! I’ve never seen Ben lose his temper with anyone before but he was pretty frustrated with CJ, when in actuality it seemed like Ben was making just as many, if not more errors than CJ. And I loved that Riley called out Ben for wagging his finger at them and said that that was what really inspired him and Matt to get fired up. Great match!
Ben has definitely been mopey before but not as often frustrated at them. Must have been frustrated himself. Can’t feel good to constantly have your hands tested and lose more often than win. Very fun match to end the day!
Very happy for Matt and Riley getting the results. They are jelling well together. Ben is known for getting mad at his partners. Ben can’t legitimately blame his partner for this loss. Happy Ben didn’t get the triple crown after his casual 30 minute late morning arrival for singles. What a show of disrespect to the tournament, opponent, and spectators.
Other teams: I can’t understand why Tyson doesn’t stack and let Jay’s big forehand take the middle. But kudos for Dawson and Loong taking Bronze.
The Tyson thing was a strategic change from earlier in the Johns match and that’s what got them so close. So they may have kept it up
I think in the future the Johns vs Matt/Riley games will be a toss-up if the speed up strategy continues. It really is dependent on who is “on” during the game. Matt W. was clearly “on” and got the better of BJ way too often. The one handicap against the Johns brothers is that CJ will never have the quickest hands out of the 4 players. It will be up to Ben to attack aggressively and CJ to dink defensively down the middle.
That is kind of what the stats bear out. Interesting that Ben’s speed up numbers were not good according to Jim Ramsay