We’re not sure how many more creative ideas DUPR can come up with for Tuesday night pickleball, but they keep finding ways to do something slightly different. This week it is the Battle of the Venues, with some of the Dreamland crew facing off against the Chicken N Pickle pros. It’s more of a lower end pro matchup this week, with Jorja Johnson and Vivienne David being the most well known to the more casual viewers.
In case this is your first go around, DUPR is doing these with the MLP style format, except there is rally scoring first to 21 with the team having to score on their serve to win. They haven’t announced the mixed matchups as of writing this so we are going to project the mixed partnerships. Let’s get into the teams.
Women’s Doubles – Vivienne David / Lina Padegimaite vs. Jorja Johnson / Kasandra Gehrke
For the women, Vivienne David is the best player of this group of four but the problem in this format is that David is typically a right-sided monster who pairs well with a power left-sided player. It’ll be interesting to see if Jorja Johnson is able to create more offence for Chicken N Pickle in this matchup. Gehrke’s hands are her best asset, and they should be able to hold up well enough against these opponents.
Gehrke and Padegimaite did find their way to a bronze medal at an APP event earlier this year. Neither of us have honestly had a chance to watch too much of Lina (pronounced Lynn-ah we believe), but she is clearly working on her game and her partnership with Gehrke led to Gehrke’s best pro result.
We prefer David/Padegimaite in this matchup because of Vivienne David, although we may not be giving Jorja Johnson enough credit yet again.
Men’s Doubles – Brandon Nsekpong / Wyatt Stone vs. Ben Newell / Jack Oxler
It’s been a long time since we have watched any Jack Oxler until he came out of nowhere to get 4th place at a recent PPA event and it was surprising that the legacy pro was able to do that, especially with no recent tournaments really. Newell may not be very well known but he has come around on the pro scene around the same time as Julian Arnold, and there’s a real argument to be made there’s not much difference between Newell and Arnold. Other than Arnold is a crazy person on the court – and we mean that in the best wy possible. In our opinion, the quieter Newell is the best men’s player in this group of four and Oxler has shown he can still hold up at high level.
On the other side, Brandon Nsekpong has had a rough run of tournaments recently after he got some decent results earlier this year. Nsekpong’s DUPR rating is higher, but Stone has had more consistency in terms of pro wins in 2022 – as a side note Gridley/Nsekpong had an awkward looking match against Stone/Cassidy for anyone interested. Anyway, in this partnership, you have a couple of guys who can get hot, but there isn’t necessarily the consistency needed between them.
Give us Newell/Oxler in this one.
Mixed Doubles Projected #1 – Nsekpong / David vs. Newell / Johnson
This is a projection of what we expect to happen for mixed matchups. Nsekpong and David are Dreamland pros together and Nsekpong seems like a face that DUPR is pushing through these events. If we were making the choice, it would likely be a coin toss between Nsekpong and Stone to play with David so why not throw Nsekpong in there. David is such a steady force in mixed and Nsekpong definitely has weapons to make things happen when needed.
For Chicken N Pickle, Jorja has proven she has both hands and weapons to hold up at the highest level while Newell is the steadier male in this projected matchup. It’s always interesting when you get the lefty out there because it means the women are going to play straight up against one another if you play the traditional stack.
We’ll go with Newell/Johnson for the first projected mixed match.
Mixed Doubles Projected #2 – Stone/Padegimaite vs. Oxler/Gehrke
Stone is more of a men’s player at this point in his career, but we also haven’t seen Oxler play any pro mixed in recent years. Oxler has never stood out as a guy with major weapons so we expect Stone will have more ability to make some stuff happen out there. However, Oxler is probably going to make less mistakes so what are we valuing more here?
Gehrke’s style is about as far as it gets from traditional and that will always limit her in terms of where her game can get to. Gehrke is what she is, and it seems unlikely that is changing anytime soon. In contrast, Padegimaite is a former tennis player who fits the mold of these up and coming classically trained players. Again, we haven’t watched that much of her so the evaluation here is more of a guess based on results than anything else.
We’ll give the slight edge to Stone/Padegimaite.
If the matchups go the way we think, then this will come down to a singles game to 21. Singles in the MLP format is usually a crapshoot, but if you’re looking for something to grasp at it would be that Gehrke does not play any singles. On top of that, Jack Oxler cannot be getting much singles practice in these days. The Dreamland team is not a singles heavy team, but everyone out there is playing pro singles events recently, except for Vivienne David who may very well be the best female singles player in this group.
The edge has to go to Dreamland team in singles.
Sit back, relax and, if you’re so inclined, enjoy another edition of Pickleball Night in America.
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