We’re going to be doing previews for the split age and senior pro divisions, other than singles for senior pro, as we have some lag time before the doubles pro starts up again and there’s a lot of interesting things to talk about for these divisions. As a reminder, the US Open is a single elimination format so in these weird split age things, the seeding can become crucial. We also have that Franklin ball in the Florida humidity, which makes it a very mushy and slow ball to play with for these pros. No fantasy draft preview for split age or senior. Just your standard previews to give you an idea of what to look for. We’ll have the mixed split age preview tomorrow.
Men’s Split Age
1. Dayne Gingrich / Riley Newman – Dayne is probably the best men’s doubles player out there at the senior level ahead of Dave Weinbach and Riley Newman is the best men’s doubles player in this split age field. These players have not been partners together before but this is an easy choice with the paper results between the two of them.
2. Dave Weinbach / Kyle Yates – The old school partnership is back! Likely the #2 senior pro men’s doubles player, arguably #1, the importance in the split age of having a senior that can hold up to the banging that comes from elite pro players would seem to be key from our standpoint. Weinbach can still hold up at the pro level as we saw when he and Dayne played pro at Nationals together last year. Kyle Yates and Weinbach also have the fortune of having played a bunch together. Yates’ game has been quite strong recently and they should have an outside shot at gold paired together.
3. Mircea Morariu / JW Johnson – You could make an argument for any of the next four or five teams to be in a podium position. We like JW Johnson and Mircea Morariu because JW is, well, JW and Morariu is one of the better doubles players out there in senior. Add on the fact that Morariu and JW train together all the time, they should have a real shot at the podium. It should be noted this team’s results pro split age events have been disappointing.
Podium Chasers: Scott Crandall and AJ Koller are a scary team. Koller can make so much happen offensively and Crandall is steady as all can be. Crandall has had good success in 2022. Steve Kennedy/Dekel Bar are Engage compatriots and Dekel being able to cover all that court is so helpful for this format. Kennedy and Bar have played together in the past, which is always helpful. A couple of other teams to note are Rob Cassidy/Jose Derisi and Adam Stone/Dave Fleming. Cassidy/Derisi particularly is one that could make some noise. We’ll also make a mention of John Sperling/Wes Gabrielsen simply because John Sperling is probably the 3rd best men’s doubles player out there.
Women’s Split Age
1. Cammy MacGregor / Irina Tereschenko – The women’s split age isn’t quite as deep as the men’s, which we guess is par for the course in pickleball. MacGregor is still right at the top of the senior women’s game and in this field is clearly the #1 senior player from what we can see. Irina Tereschenko is still strong enough and, again, this goes back to the thinking having the strong senior pro is the key in these split age events.
2. Eva Welsher / Callie Smith – Eva Welsher won a split age event earlier this year playing with AJ Kolller and now gets the pleasure of teaming up with the most powerful female in this draw, Callie Smith. Welsher has good, not great, senior results but is right there in contention every weekend. We know what Callie Smith can do and her offence is scary. This could be a gold medal team.
3. Chris Karges / Lauren Stratman – This could have easily been Jorja Johson and, mother, Julie, but Karges has shown out well in stronger partnerships over the past 6 months or so. Stratman has more offence than anybody except Callie in this field, although Jorja’s offence creation is getting right there. We’ll go with this team for a bronze
Podium Chasers: Jorja Johnson/Julie Johnson are a mother/daughter duo who may have an easier time getting along than mother/son combo. Julie is quite steady while Jorja has shots that can make things happen. Sarah Mitten/Corrine Carr is an interesting team but we worry about the offence creation here. Kim Kesner/Sarah Ansboury is a team without a lot of offfence as well but steadiness is there. Kesner has a pro gold medal this year in senior. As an old school team, we note Gee Gee Garvin/Jennifer Dawson who deserve a mention.
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