DUPR Battle of the Sexes Preview
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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16 thoughts on “DUPR Battle of the Sexes Preview”
Agree that Corrine Carr is the weak link but hope she plays well and everybody has fun. I wonder if she’s affiliated with DUPR/MLP and therefore a guaranteed draft pick this next MLP? Either way she might be in regardless of her current abilities if PPA contracted players don’t get to participate.
She is DUPR sponsored. Not sure if that means she is guaranteed a spot. Would say unlikely but with so many less women she is probably top 16. We’ll of course do a mock draft when the time comes
This one seems like a yawn EXCEPT you know Anna Bright is going to bring tons of energy and enthusiasm. So she will be fun to watch in the match you mentioned partnering with Viv.
Wonder if Viv is healthy as we forgot to note in the preview. Hopefully she is. You are not the first to say yawn
To the contrary, I expect lots of energy from almost all the players. You’ve got 3 of the most vocal men’s players in the game here in Merchant, Witsken, and Sherry (to a lesser degree, possibly, but still entertaining on the court). Plus Lee is always vocal and animated, Anna will be fiery for sure which I think will offset Vivian and Corrine’s quieter tendencies.
I also have to disagree regarding Corrine being the weak link.
IMO her defense is as good as Lee’s plus she has a better soft game than Anna.
Anna’s will get there, but it’s not at the same level yet.
PB (and other sports) has a great dynamic where the mashups of particular skill combinations can make all the difference and it’s not always apparent until put together. This can result in a team that is seemingly outmatched come out on top.
I would’ve liked to see a Corrine+Anna team as the combination of fire from Anna and defense+resets from Corrine would make for a good combination.
I for one look forward to seeing it all play out. It’s bonus pro PB, what’s not to like!
Didn’t say no energy but would it be tournament style intensity? There will be lots of banter sure. Corrine and Anna would have been interesting to see. Agree that is a good fit
Sorry, I wasn’t clear, my response about energy was related the previous yawn comment, not in response to the matchup breakdowns.
Oh we didn’t think it was to the preview but if it was totally cool! Gotchya
The issue/problem is whether the men are motivated to play all out. When you play weaker players, and there is no specific motivating factor added, simple human nature is for the stronger players to play less than their hardest. Not true for the weaker players — you can see this dynamic at any local rec game, where a couple of 4.0s challenges the two 5.0s — the 4.0s take it much more seriously.
When the concept of this match was floated, the idea was to have a significant purse, and winner take all, in order to motivate the men to play full out. Even then, when I first spoke to Dave Weinbach and Dayne Gingrich, they were skeptical that DUPR would really want them to play full out. It was only when it was winner take all that they started to be convinced.
I hope the men are given some kind of extra motivation to try their hardest, but I doubt that will occur. I do not know all 4 of the men, but I know Altaf and Rick well enough to know if they play full out, tournament style, they would win a normal game about 11-3 or so.
Even though I doubt this will be an event where the men play full out, I will still watch and be interested. Hope you will watch too!
We are hopeful the Dayne/Dave thing comes to fruition at some point. Wholeheartedly agree with your comments about motivation and don’t believe there is extra incentive for men to win. They do get more money though
Honestly, after just two weeks I’ve lost interest. The players are obviously enjoying themselves, but from the off color jokes made by commentators (hello, kids do want to watch…), to the lack of desire to go all out by the players, to the constant sell of DUPR, the unprofessional atmosphere, it’s blah. I find it humorous that the type of play demonstrated is the very opposite of what DUPR should be supporting. There is a high probability that they aren’t recording these matches, as they are not accurate indications of the players ability. Just my two cents…
You’re not the only one we have heard this from regarding the events
I really liked last week, but I kind of agree. I don’t mind casual, fun events showing personality, and would watch those! But I hate that this week was marketed as something that it wasn’t… Anna Bright might have been the only player really trying to win.
Probably not shocking that Anna would be that person. I think there are only so many of these type of things people are willing to watch. They are more fun in person but with no rooting interest and then quality of play being down due to casual nature. It’s tough
Is it just me, or are matches 3 and 4 unavailable? Also they need replay or challenges or something for the terrible calls.
Go to the Kitchen on facebook. There is a stream of the Corrine/Vivienne match there and they did singles