It is round 2 of DUPR’s Tuesday night pickleball series. The players are not as notable, but the event might be more interesting. Jim Kloss, one of the more prominent Facebook Pickleball Forum stars, posted an interesting story last week about the development of an earlier iteration of battle of the sexes. Of course, we have to take it with a grain of salt because it is only one person’s perspective, but the matchup that Kloss describes would be a very intriguing battle of the sexes. Kloss claims it had been arranged that Dave Weinbach and Dayne Gingrich would play Jillian Braverman and Vivienne David. This version of battle of the sexes happening tonight isn’t as intriguing to us simply because the men aren’t as notable. As Kloss points out, it’ll be surprising to see if this iteration is played tournament style, which is really the point when you do a battle of the sexes event. That doesn’t mean it is not possible and with the level of players on the men’s side it should be entertaining nonetheless.
The format will be the same as last week with MLP style 4 match-ups and the weird rally scoring. As Kloss points out, the rally scoring to 21, except scoring on your serve when you get to 20, really favors the underdog team. The current version of pickleball scoring makes it harder for weaker team to find their way to an upset. The matchups have already been announced so let’s preview each one. The action starts at 8:00 pm EST strraming on the Youtube and Facebook pages for APP, MLP and DUPR.
Matchup #1 – Ryan Sherry/Altaf Merchant vs. Lee Whitwell/Anna Bright
Ryan Sherry is a singles specialist who dabbles in doubles while Merchant is about as steady a doubles player as you’ll find in your late 40s. The one thing about Sherry is that he has shots even if his doubles game isn’t all that polished and Sherry will be on that left side with the lefty Merchant. Sherry can do about as much with his two hand backhand in singles as anyone so we’ll see what it looks like tonight.
Speaking of doing a lot with their backhands, Anna Bright is getting in on the exhibition action. Bright and Whitwell are a good theoretical partnership as Whitwell is super steady on her side of the court while Bright can bring the heat with the attacks. Merchant has underrated hands (even if not underrated, they are very good), and we’ll be curious to see how he does straight up against Bright, who really shouldn’t see any balls in this matchup. It seems that more players are learning you can really go after Whitwell as she is not going to punish you with counters, which is why she needs someone who can create offence and finish points for her.
This is going to be a theme for our preview here, but we think the men have too much firepower, assuming they play this one right and stay away from Bright. Given the rec play type atmosphere, you wonder how good the guys would feel about isolating Whitwell as if it were a tournament though.
Matchup #2 – Matt Manasse/Rick Witsken vs. Corrine Carr/Vivienne David
Rick Witsken has been having a killer year on the senior pro tour, but we haven’t seen Matt Manasse around the pro scene at all in 2022 as he is doing the teaching to the stars thing at the famous Riviera Country Club. Manasse is a very talented player but he’s obviously not getting the high end reps right now, which makes it hard to say where his game is at.
This matchup is one where the way it is played will dictate how close the result is. Corrine Carr is by far and away the weak link in this group of 8 players and if she is isolated then we think it is game over. As we have noted in the blog with the Carr/David partnership, David is not the fit for Carr as David is best suited as a right-sided set-up player.
Manasse may not have the high-end reps, but this should be a win if they play it right. That’s a big ‘if’ with this format though.
Matchup #3 – Ryan Sherry/Matt Manasse vs. Anna Bright/Vivienne David
This is the most interesting matchup that we see. You have the two best players on the women’s side in Bright/David playing Sherry/Manasse who actually have some experience playing together back in 2020. Neither Sherry nor Manasse are eli8te pro doubles players, but there’s lots of talent between them. Really, the talent is there with all four players though and we have seen David as well as Bright hang with the best of them. David/Bright both have elite hands and counter-attacking ability, and it’s a pick your poison in terms of who you isolate. You go at David and she’s steady as a rock with hard counters. You go at Bright and you’re risking her taking that two-handed backhand wherever she wants to go and fighting her quick hands.
We’ll be tuning in for this one.
Matchup #4 – Altaf Merchant/Rick Witsken vs. Lee Whitwell/Corrine Carr
One senior pro male and another almost senior pro male versus one almost senior pro female and Corrine Carr. There’s not too much more to say about this other than if Merchant/Witsken play this the way they should, it’s a win for them. Regardless, Whitwell doesn’t have the firepower needed to compensate for Corrine’s lack of it either so it’s not even clear if it matters how they play this one.
If the players are going full on in all 4 matchups, it will be fun to see how this all shakes out. However, if it is too much like a rec game then we think they’ll have to figure out how to raise the stakes for these Tuesday night things to get the players to treat it more like a tournament.
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