USA Pickleball Tournament of Champions (TOC) – Live Blog

The tournament is going to be streaming on various platforms with the medal matches on ESPN plus on some days.

You can check out our fantasy draft preview if you are curious about the draws and what we saw before the tourney shook out.

Saturday, August 21st – Men’s Doubles and Women’s Singles

12:17 am EST (Gritty) – Surprise! The Johns brothers win in straights. We’ll have our takeaways for you all on Monday!

11:21 pm EST (Gritty) – Not surprisingly, Newman and McGuffin find their way back to the gold in fairly easy fashion. It’s a good day for both teams and I guess anything it’s possible, but there has been nothing to indicate Ben and Collin will be challenged. Will Tyson and Riley change their stack to try something different?

Rich Lopez and John Sperling take gold in 3 as well. You give Thunder Lopez the right partner and he can challenge for medals on any day. As we know, Sperling is a beast and that’s a good win in another deep, senior men’s field.

8:22 pm EST (Gritty) – Callie Smith’s singled game has really come along. She is winning or at least playing tight matches against all of the best players. We have said it before but there is no reason with her athleticism and ground strokes she can’t be a very good singles player. Anna Leigh takes a super tight one in 3 games but it’s what we can call a moral victory for her. 11-9 in the third.

6:03 pm EST (Gritty) – Good match from Frazier/Johnson but not enough against Newman and McGuffin. Frazier won more speed ups than I would have thought given how many times he kept going to that pancake forehand. That wind is tough though. Stone/Bar get a rematch now against NewGuffin.

4:59 pm EST (Gritty) – Not surprisingly, Frazier/Johnson are playing to go to bronze after an extended back draw run and they’ll play Tyson and Riley. It’s a good day for the young guys and it would be made fantastic by a podium.

Callie Smith beats Irina Tereschenko twice today to go to the gold match. She’ll get another crack at Anna Leigh.

Thunder Lopez and John Sperling will play for gold against the winner of Johansson/Miller and Booth/Gingrich. Talk about a lot of banging in that Johansson/Miller partnership and that’s a very good day for them already.

3:25 pm EST (Gritty) – It’s the expected Johns winner bracket final as Austin and Shelton continue to work their way through the backdraw. Stone/Bar and NewGuffin just getting going. I will be curious to see the young kids face Pat and Kyle.

Anna Leigh has cruised through the sad 4 player women’s bracket and will have to expect she wins.

12:17 pm EST (Gritty) – A few early interesting results that probably won’t matter in the grand scheme. Shelton and Austin Gridley take down their fellow Utah players Loong/Smith. Joey Farias and Jeff Warnick barely beat Marcin Rozpedski and Joshua Elliott, which is not a good sign for Joey and Jeff. Daniel Moore and his partner also found a way to take a set off the Johns’. Moore is back playing a tourney for the first time in a long time.

Dave Weinbach and Rick Witsken lost to Paul Olin and Dave Fleming somehow. That is undoubtedly a team I would have had playing for gold and probably winning gold too.

10:00 am EST (Gritty) – I am not sure what has happened here in the women’s singles draw. Jansen played a lot of pickleball yesterday and she is not in the singles draw today. It’s only a 5 player draw for a major tournament. You have to think something has to be wrong as Jansen would want to be playing in this small field.

Steve Deakin is also out on the men’s side with Wes Gabrielsen and Jason Bock has replaced him. Dom Catalano confirmed on Facebook that Deakin aggravated his wrist yesterday and you wonder if that could do him in for 2021.

Friday, August 20th – Mixed Doubles

9:28 pm EST (Gritty) – Pretty snoozey rest of the day. Parenteau and Newman win fairly handily and then lose to Simone and Ben pretty handily. Just another big day for JW.

Gotta give it up to Chris Karges and Dayne Gingrich. First time partnership and they did not drop a game all day. Karges is not a major player on the senior pro scene and we’ve seen Gingrich not get results with what we would consider superior players. Good for them.

6:22 pm EST (Gritty) – How much more can we talk about JW? It must have been rough early but he looked like the clear dominant player on the court in matches against Tyson McGuffin and Patrick Smith. In that Tyson match particularly, he was taking every opportunity to speed up against Leigh Waters that he could and winning most of those battles. The confidence is growing and it seems like Jansen has been the perfect partner to set his mixed game free.

5:11 pm EST (Gritty) – Deakin and Smith have withdrawn leaving Stratman and Smith to play the game to go to bronze against the winner of Jansen/Jw and Leigh Waters/McGuffin. Stratman/Smith handily took down Anna Leigh and Yates, which surprised me probably more than it did Slim. You have to ask whether Deakin reinjured his wrist again and hope everything is okay with either him or Callie.

Karges/Gingrich easily beat Anderson/Weinbach while Sperling/MacGregor got knocked off earlier than I would expect. It seems like there’s a little more unpredictability with the senior pro results results these days.

3:17 pm EST (Gritty) – I’m really confused by this Deakin/Smith loss. Not that they lost but that they never went to Callie stacked in front of Simone consistently. That alignment is what seemingly allowed them to almost take down Jardim/Johns a short time ago and it’s very odd they wouldn’t even try it for an extended period of time.

2:55 pm EST (Gritty) – The main stream is just getting going so not much in the way of watching this morning. Parenteau and Newman are in the winners bracket finals. I guess Warnick and Irvine are not back as they go to the losers draw and fall to Anna Leigh and Yates. Barr and Cassidy lose what has to be a heartbreaker to Callie and Deakin, but they continue to get good wins as they go through against Collin Johns and Andrea Koop.

It was close to a very bad day for Jansen and JW but they have a 16-14 and 17-15 win on the back side.

On the senior pro side, big surprise to me seeing Karges/Gingrich take down MacGregor/Sperling 11-3, 11-3.

11:45 am EST (Slim) – Mixed doubles is underway, and we are back outside after a couples day playing indoors to the rain. My first thought on this mixed bracket, is how competitive and deep it is. If you look at almost all of the second round match ups, it features all match ups of legitimate higher end pros. The sport of pickleball is definitely still growing. A couple results of note, Jeff Warnick and Jessie Irvine beat JW Johnson and Lea Jansen, in 3 games 2-11, 11-6, 11-6, perhaps not a shocking result, but that’s a match that Jessie and Jeff have been losing more often than not this year. You have to wonder if that team is riding high in confidence off of Jessie’s recent women’s results. Rob Nunnery and Vivienne David, knocked off Anna Leigh and Kyle Yates in 3 games, 3-11, 11-2, 11-6, which again, I would not say is shocking, but still a solid win over Anna Leigh for them. Susannah Barr and Rob Cassidy, took down Adam Stone and Irina Tereschenko in three games 6-11, 11-9, 11-5 and at this point I wouldn’t even call it an upset for Rob and Susannah they are just a team that outside of the Ben and Simone’s and Matt and Lucy’s can get W’s over anyone.

Thursday, August 19th – Women’s Doubles

11:22 pm EST (Gritty) – We got the rematch in the gold and it was quite fascinating to watch because Jardim is being targetted so heavily. It seems teams aren’t afraid because she doesn’t have the power to punish them. Jardim resorted to far more speeding up than I have ever seen and I think it’s because there were no answers for her other than resorting to getting into firefights. They did get the best 2 of 3, but it ultimately was not enough. Irvine and Parenteau were too steady, and Irvine particularly was so steady to be able to hang with Simone in all those dink battles. It’s too premature to call this any sort of beginning of the end after just two weeks but it is something to ask at Simone’s age what her next move is. She isn’t getting more powerful and she can’t become a person who wants to start hand battles. Kovalova was not perfect but she didn’t see many balls overall so how can you do better than that partnership?

7:05 pm EST (Slim) – Another big for Jessie Irvine and Catherine Parenteau as they take down Lucy and Simone, in three games, it will be interesting to see if they can keep pulling out these tight matches in the gold against whoever they face. Lucy and Simone will face the Waters in the bronze medal match. The Waters won a tightly contested match against Callie Smith and Lea Jansen to reach the bronze. I would be curious to see Lea and Callie play another tournament or two together, and see how they do. I feel like it is a partnership with a high ceiling.

5:28 pm EST (Gritty) – Another big result for Jessie Irvine getting a win over the Waters with Catherine Parenteau. We (especially Slim) have been pretty vocal about Jessie’s apparent plateau this year but is it possible it is more partner based? 2 weeks in a row with Parenteau and what appears to be less Jeff Warnick in mixed should give us a better sense of where her game is at.

3:59 pm EST (Gritty) – Tough one for Callie and Lea Jansen as they lose 9 and 9, especially after being up 9-3 in the first. Simone and Lucy are so steady and when it gets tight they don’t give you much room. Jansen has not had a ton of these types of reps in her career and she’s in a similar position that Rob Nunnery was playing with Dekel Bar earlier this year being the most inexperienced player on the court. The reps are necessary but, of course, you want to win when you’re that close.

2:50 pm EST (Slim) – The women’s semi’s are set with, no surprises yet, Callie/Lea are taking on Simone/Lucy and the Waters are taking on Jessie/Catherine in the other. It will be particularly interesting to see how comes out on top of the Waters versus Jessie/Catherine.

12:49 pm EST (Gritty) – Just to provide an update, matches are going to get going at 1:30pm EST with the delay due to weather today. It is a strong women’s open bracket with very little that is free in these smaller women’s fields. It can’t be very enticing for relative newcomers to try their hand at a small 11 team bracket when a loss is almost inevitable against all but 1 or maybe 2 teams.

Wednesday, August 18th – Men’s Singles

10:05 pm EST (Gritty) – What else is there to say about JW? We have really been up on JW but I don’t think anyone saw this coming. To take down Ben Johns for the first time in 170 matches (thanks, The Dink), and then to go through Tyson McGuffin twice to take gold is impressive beyond words.

9:16 pm EST (Gritty) – Paul Olin gets the gold in men’s senior pro and it’s clear on the senior pro side that Mattias Johansson isn’t quite ready as the dominant force for men’s singles. His weird style probably needs a bit more seasoning but it’s impressive how fast his rise has been on the singles side.

Apparently it’s 1-1 in games with Smith and McGuffin in the bronze though this is not being streamed unfortunately.

8:29 pm EST (Gritty) – What a damn day. I really regret not taking Spencer Smith and Slim mentioned that to me after I took Dylan Frazier. Spencer takes down Ben while Tyson loses to JW. A day of shockers. What the heck is happening!!!

6:15 pm EST (Gritty) – JW Johnson amazingly took down Ben Johns in 3 games with a convincing 11-3 score in game 3. Not even JW’s buddy, Johnny Goldberg, saw this one coming. There is still the back draw and my money will always be on Ben unless there’s reason to believe otherwise. JW will likely get Tyson in the winner’s bracket final.

4:51 pm EST (Gritty) – First note is that we are at Picklr not Club Pickleball for the indoor venue. My bad on that one.

JW Johnson is in the semis after going 3 with Ryan Sherry. JW was down 9-0 in game 1 before winning 11-9. No Dekel Bar in the draw today for whatever reason. And Keaton Cullimore, the former BYU Cougar, is currently up a game on Tyson McGuffin but Tyson is in control in game 2 at 7-1.

3:45 pm EST (Gritty) – The matches have been moved inside to Club USA Pickleball and they are working through the brackets again. A couple of relatively notable results so far. Probably not enough respect to singles veteran Spencer Smith who seems like he won easily over Dylan Frazier. Smith is consistently coming to the net these days and that’s a big difference for a guy who has some of the best ground strokes out there. Keaton Cullimore also won over FAD in 2 games and this continues the ongoing singles decline of FAD

10:58 am EST (Gritty) – It’s early stages of the men’s singles but it looks like we are in a rain delay.

Just to note there has been an update to the women’s doubles draw as Lea Jansen is replacing Corrine Carr in the Callie Smith partnership to form what I would deem a stronger team now.

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