We got a shift from a year ago on the senior pro podium where Scott Moore and Rick Witsken won gold (aided by a withdrawal from Kennedy/Oncins) over Mircea Morariu and Dan Granot. Not surprisingly, it was another walkthrough gold medal for mental guru Dayne Gingrich and Dave Weinbach. Last year at the US Open, Gingrich and Weinbach did not play with one another, and neither player made the podium. This year, they did not drop a game en route to their championship. Crandall and Derisi played them 12-10 in game 2 of their semi-final, but it is fascinating that no one can touch these two. The silver medalists, Morariu/Sperling, did not drop a game all day until they got troubced by Gingrich/Weinbach, 11-1 and 11-2. It will be interesting to see if the introduction of Altaf Merchant to the senior pro game next year will shake up the undefeated Gingrich/Weinbach. Crandall/Derisi ended up taking bronze over Moore/Witsken.
It is the women’s senior pros tomorrow and we’re here to preview the field. While the draw isn’t nearly as deep as the senior men, there are still some fun storylines, namely whether it will be the relative newcomers or the veteran stalwarts who will come out on top at the end of the day.
1. Nathalie Bagby/ Beth Bellamy – Nathalie Bagby and Beth Bellamy have pretty dominant since they entered the pickleball scene a little over a year ago. They have taken gold in the last four tournaments they have played womens doubles together in. The thing is, Dawson/MacGregor are not travelling much on these APP Tour stops and we don’t get to see these ladies matched up against one another very often.
2. Jennifer Dawson / Cammy MacGregor – Jen Dawson and Cammy MacGregor are still one of the dominant teams in senior women’s pickleball. They beat Bagby and Bellamy in Mesa at the start of the year. It is so fascinating watching Dawson play because she is pretty much all banging whereas her husband, Steve, and son, Callan, are two of the steadiest and most patient players around.
3. Eva Welsher/ Helen Wilhelm – Eva Welsher and Helen Wilhelm are two ladies who usually, find their way onto the podium, in a deep field though they will have lots of competition to make it. This pairing struggled a bit to start the year but we like them to grab the bronze.
Podium Chasers: Sarah Mitten and Mary Helen Atkins, usually find their way onto the podium when they play together so expect them to be in the mix this weekend. Former tennis star Gigi Fernandez seems to be continuing to learn the pickleball game, and Fernandez along with another regular podium presence, Kim Kesner are a team with a real shot to make some noise. Julie Johnson and Angela Simon, are a couple more podium regulars who it would not be surprising to see make the podium – Simon had a big double gold at the last APP Tour stop.
Wildcards: Alex Hamner and Jennifer Lucore are a couple legends of the game and last year they surprised a lot of people with their silver medal at the US Open, can they do it again this year? Leslie Bernard and Linda Thompson’s results together this year have not been great, but they have shown in the past that they can get it done. Neither of us have seen Pocket Doc Unnoppet play before but she is paired with Chris Karges who gets some very good results here and there.
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