Women’s Pro Doubles by Gritty
- Simone Jardim/Lucy Kovalova – Do we need to say anything more? The most dominant women’s team out there by a mile. They did lose to Callie Smith and Catherine Parenteau in Newport recently but they were able to come back to win a tight 15-11 tiebreaker to get another gold medal. I can’t see Simone losing in her home state.
- Callie Smith/Catherine Parenteau – See above. They both have the hands as well as the power to hold up against Simone/Lucy. They stacked Callie on the left side in Newport and, while that led them very close to a gold medal, I wonder if stacking Catherine on the left would be more beneficial considering Callie’s limitations with what she can do on her backhand. These two are clearly the number two team in my opinion.
- Leigh Waters/Anna Leigh Waters – The 2019 national champions have been working their way to form this year and had a good showing in Delray a few weeks ago. There are whispers (at least between the two of us) that the women on tour are getting used to the Waters’ banging. I will continue to believe that they have to be more patient and pick their spots better, particularly Leigh who is seeing more balls in this partnership these days.
- Irina Tereschenko/Jessie Irvine – A very solid pairing but a bit limited in upside because of Tereschenko. Irina is solid but you know what you are going to get at this point. I could see them sliding into a bronze because of Irvine.
- Lindsey Newman/Vivienne David – Lindsey is finding her form after her pregnancy but her game is still better suited for mixed. David is hot and cold, but continues to improve over the past year plus. This is not a team I want to face in the draw. It will likely be a grind.
- Sarah Ansboury/Regina Franco – Sarah Ansboury remains solid and with Franco they are going to make you work for a win. However, Ansboury’s game is basically the same as it was when she was getting to podiums regularly a few years ago. Franco is solid but her improvement hasn’t been enough to carry Ansboury.
- Corrine Carr/Lea Jansen – Carr’s game has taken a big step up this year. She is going for more, playing less predictably and she handles banging better than she ever did before. Jansen’s game isn’t where it needs to be for this team to make a podium but they have the ability to put a lot of teams in this bracket to the test.
- Christine McGrath/Michelle Esquivel – This team is not a dark horse but Christine McGrath deserves a mention simply to remind us how much the game has grown. McGrath gets a lot of good partners without much in the way of results since 2018 – see previously: Benjamin Johns.
Women’s Split Age by Gritty
The 2020 US Open was supposed to be our introduction to the split age categories so we still don’t have a really good idea of what the right mix is for these partnerships. Yes, I know you want two very good players. However, in these matchups, I expect that having a patient senior player whose hands can hold up would be ideal to pair with a hard hitting younger player who can step in and finish points.
- Simone Jardim/Alex Hamner — Simone is going to be the favorite no matter what the format is. Alex Hamner’s results at senior pro are a bit spotty but when she has better partners she typically has strong results. In a Simone partnership, there is a lot that Simone will be able to cover and Hamner has shown she can hold up in Mixed Open Pro when she plays with Tyler Loong. I don’t expect Hamner to have any problem letting Simone take a bunch of court.
- Leigh Waters/Jennifer Dawson – Leigh Waters is a beast in women’s and her banging will be very tough for the senior pros to handle on the other side of the net. I think in this format it is more preferable to have a patient senior pro female and Jennifer Dawson likes to bang. Ultimately, Leigh and Dawson are too good, and if they can keep it away from Simone I give them a real shot at taking the gold.
- Irina Terescheno/Cammy MacGregor – Even though MacGregor is arguably the top senior women’s player out there, Irina is a step or two below the top female pros. Fortunately for Irina, there is not a lot of depth in this bracket and the MacGregor partnership gives her a very good shot at a podium finish.
- Michelle Esquivel/Helen Wilhelm – Michelle Esquivel’s power should play well in this format. As long as Esquivel can keep the vast majority of her speed ups to the senior pro on the other side, this team should be dangerous. I have no knowledge of Wilhelm’s game but her results are solid.
- Lauren Stratman/Eva Welsher – Stratman’s game continues to rise but it will be an interesting dynamic to see younger players like Stratman try to take over in this format. Eva Welsher has solid results and given Stratman’s steady play this team has a shot at the podium.
- Julie Johnson/Lea Jansen – Jansen has had some okay results but she hasn’t had quite the rise this year that seemed possible considering how much she has been touted by friend/frequent drilling partner Tyson McGuffin. Jansen’s elite mobility should be put to good use in this format. Johnson has some good results at the senior pro level in smaller fields, but her game is still very limited. I don’t expect this team to get to a podium but it’s not necessarily a team I want to face early on either.
- Tracy Tanner/Callie Smith – I had never heard of Tanner before seeing this bracket. She’s a bit older than the other contenders in this bracket. Her and Callie are both from Utah so I have to assume that is their connection. Her results are not strong but with Callie on her side in this format I would not be surprised to see them win some matches.
Women’s Pro Singles by Slim
- Simone Jardim – Never bet against Simone. Time and time again she delivers in every event. Parenteau has pushed Simone this year, but when push has come to shove, Simone has pulled through in the gold medal matches. Until she actually loses a tournament, she is the only choice here. One has to wonder though, how much longer Simone can keep her strangle hold on the number one singles spot against her younger competition. To her credit, she has kept her fitness at the highest level, which is something some of those chasing her could probably take notes on.
- Catherine Parenteau – She has clearly emerged this year as the second best singles player. The only real question here I think is whether she can finally reach the top of the podium and knock off her mentor. Anything less than silver would be a disappointing result.
- Irina Teresenchko – Her singles results have not been as good lately as they have been in the past, but a veteran of the game she tends to be more consistent than the women below her, earning her the bronze spot in these podium predictions.
- Vivienne David – She tends to turn in good singles performances in Florida, in particular, so don’t be surprised if she ends up on the podium.
- Michelle Esquivel – Has some of the best passing shots in women’s singles and if she is ‘on’ she is a threat against anyone.
- Lea Jansen – She has been highly touted as a potential number 1 women’s single player in the world by her pickleball mentor Tyson McGuffin and she definitely flashes all of the raw tools to be a real threat on the biggest stage. However, to date, she has typically fallen short against the top women in the game. She does seem to be a grinder though, working on her game, is this the weekend she breaks through?
- Anna Leigh Waters – calling Anna Leigh, one of the most recognizable names and faces in Pickleball, a dark horse might seem odd, but she has not played a singles tournament in quite sometime and has played much less singles competitively than she has doubles. It would seem that with her natural athleticism and talent she would be a huge threat to break through at anytime and become a regular presence on the ladies singles podium. She already has a TOC silver which she earned at all of 12 years of age.
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