PPA Las Vegas Open – Preview

This is one of, if not, the smallest PPA event that we’ve seen to date. No singles as well for this tier 3 tournament. Here are the bracket sizes as of today – 4 team women’s bracket, 9 team mixed draw and 11 team men’s draw. We have been quite vocal about the issues the APP Tour has been having on the women’s side with size of draws. However, this is just one of those pickleball being new problems that continues to rear its ugly head at far too many tournaments. It doesn’t help that the PPA is doing a Vegas tournament in September and October, which means that a lot of players are probably choosing the bigger October tournament for their Vegas stop. The prize money also being fairly small has to be a significant factor. The APP had to cancel their Vegas stop in October (disclaimer: it was technically due to COVID, but we are inferring it was lack of registered players). We agree with Ben Johns and Rob Nunnery that multiple pro tour stops in the same city are not ideal. As noted previously, we’re not here with some great solution to the women’s draw issues. However, we would be remiss not to make a note of it.

It should go without saying that there’s no fantasy draft preview this week with only 3 pro events going on. The senior events are fairly limited with top end talent for a PPA tourney as well and, interestingly, no Dave Weinbach. There is no senior women’s pro bracket either.

So here’s a simple, generic preview for the upcoming weekend.

Mixed Doubles (Gritty)

1. Simone Jardim / Ben Johns – This is the number #1 team until further notice. The Newman’s can definitely challenge them as Simone/Ben have been shown to be beatable over this recent stretch. I also think that on the right day Irvine/DJ Young have it in them to give them a run along with Lea Jansen and Dekel Bar as there’s a lot of sides in those pairings. This is fun though as I’m actually interested to see what happens in the mixed this weekend.

2. Lindsey Newman / Riley Newman – Riley has been doing damage with Catherine Parenteau and we have to expect the same with his usual partner-in-crime Lindsey. Keep in mind Lindsey has only played 3 tournaments since the US Open and this is her first tournament since the Seattle Metro Open at the end of July.

3. Jessie Irvine / DJ Young –I want to believe in DJ Young but you just never know who you are going to get. His mixed results have shown to be strong on some weekends and you have to believe they have a good shot to hit a podium in this smaller field. Irvine has been rock solid recently so I’m going to give them the slight nod over Jansen/Bar. Also notable to see that Irvine is not playing with Warnick and it doesn’t appear they have much planned for the future. Have to wonder if that partnership is just about done.

Notable Teams: I want to believe in Dekel in mixed but he’s really only shown up in a big way at Orlando two weeks ago with Vivienne David. I flip-flopped on whether to put them in my #3 spot for this tournament, but I want to see it again from Bar in mixed before I become more of a believer. Collin Johns is starting to play more mixed as he filled in for Steve Deakin in this same partnership two weeks ago. Another guy I would like to believe can do more damage outside of Ben Johns, this is a mixed field that is ripe for Collin to make a statement. I have to at least give a mention to Parenteau/Loong with Parenteau being one of the top female players out there.

Men’s Doubles (Slim)

1. Ben Johns / Collin Johns – Since, their loss in Atlanta, in May, the Johns boys have handled their business in men’s when they play together, and lately it hasn’t even been close in most of their matches. You have to think they are finding their stride as a partnership, which has to be scary for their opponents.

2.Riley Newman/AJ Koller – With Tyson McGuffin’s wife, having just had their baby, we get to see a new partnership this week in Riley and AJ. AJ showed a few weeks ago in Orlando that is ready to compete at the very top of the pro game, and this week he gets to go out and play with Riley. The only thing that gives me some pause with this partnership is it is their first time playing together and I think Riley’s Tasmanian Devil style, can really get some getting used to. (Something I don’t think Tyson gets enough credit for is how well he moves with Riley and is able to also stay under control).

3. Dekel Bar/Rob Nunnery – More often then not these days, Dekel Bar finds his way onto the men’s doubles’ podium, though often as the bronze medalist, something he would like rectify I imagine. Despite a few very close calls with some fourth places finishes, Nunnery has never made a podium at a PPA event, I think that changes this week.

Notable Teams: Tyler Loong and Spencer Smith are always a tough team, and it was hard to leave them off the podium here, they have made the podium in tougher fields, but I feel like they lack a little of the juice of the teams above them. DJ Young and Matt Chou are an interesting team, Matt is a right side player who is happy to take a little less court and play his role, which should pair pretty well with DJ, if DJ is firing on all cylinders. I would not be surprised Austin Gridley and Mario Barrientos knock off a team of bigger names this weekend, they are a very solid team. Finally, we have not seen very much of Brian Ashworth and Nick Williams on the pro tour these days, so it’s great to see those Pacific Northwest legends in the field.

Women’s Doubles (Gritty)

1. Catherine Parenteau/Simone Jardim – I would be shocked if this team didn’t come out on top. There’s no team with two top end players featured. It probably won’t feel like redemption for Jardim but this will be a gold for Simone.

2. Lea Jansen / Irina Tereschenko – This was close for our silver team but this is their second tournament in the last month. Jansen and Tereschenko only lost in Orlando to Simone/Lucy and Jessie/Catherine when their first played. The matches weren’t particularly close, but it’s helpful to have a recent tournament under their belt as a pair. I could easily see this team in the gold medal match.

3. Jessie Irvine / Lindsey Newman – This was closer for me than Slim for putting this team #2. While Lindsey is the weakest of those 4 ladies in women’s doubles, Irvine has been playing quite well and I think her power will be enough with Lindsey’s defence. They are in our bronze spot partially due to Lindsey’s lack of recent tourney reps.

3. Lea Jansen / Irina Tereschenko – Their second tournament in the last month, Jansen and Tereschenko only lost in Orlando to Simone/Lucy and Jessie/Catherine. The matches weren’t particularly close, but it’s helpful to have a recent tournament under their belt as a pair. I could easily see this team in the gold medal match.

Notable Teams: Callie Smith / Christine McGrath are the only notable team by default. The game has passed McGrath by and she’s clearly the weakest player in this field. Callie is a phenomenal player, but I would be surprised if she has enough to be able to carry McGrath to a podium in this field. I’m actually unclear if this is going to be double elimination or a round robin.

Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below or email us at nmlpickleball@gmail.com

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