We have not been writing about the actual pickleball much lately, with all of the off court drama with the Tour Wars, but we are getting back to pickleball coverage now. Gritty is just getting back from Europe, so we won’t have fantasy drafts this week, and should have a podcast coming out this weekend hopefully.
This weekend is pretty much back to regular scheduled programming with most PPA signed players playing this weekend. Hayden and Zane are missing from the draw but it looks like the other signed PPA players are there.
It is also sounding like PPA signed players will compete in Season 2 of MLP, and Ben Johns taking part in an exhibition with the Slice yesterday seemed to be confirmation of that.
- Ben Johns / Collin Johns
- JW Johnson / Dylan Frazier
- Riley Newman / Thomas Wilson
It will be interesting to see if Collin Johns is healthy, and can the Johns brothers reassert dominance over JW and Dylan. I imagine JW and Dylan really want to also try and take advantage of what may be one of their last chances to beat the Johns brothers. Thomas Wilson should be a much better fit for Riley Newman than Julian Arnold or even AJ Koller, so it will be interesting to see how they do this weekend. Thomas gives Riley that finishing power he desperately needs.
On the cusp: James Ignatowich / Tyson McGuffin seem to have figured things out here, late in the season. Gabe Tardio / Connor Garnett, are two guys on the rise who have gotten some strong results together. Julian Arnold / Callan Dawson are a team that seems like they should fit well together. If Julian is on, they could be dangerous. Matt Wright / Rafa Hewett are a team that is not lacking in firepower and teams will not want to let them getting going, or the yips will be flying.
- Ben Johns
- Federico Staksrud
- Tyson McGuffin
Ben, Fed and Tyson have been the three most consistent men’s singles players on the tour. I think Ben will be motivated this weekend to remind everyone he is the premier player, so it would be surprising to see him lose. Tyson got the tough draw landing on Ben’s side, which isn’t shocking given his decision to sign with MLP. The draws in these next PPAs will be interesting to monitor how the PPA handles MLP players attending these events.
On the cusp: Could we see another Connor Garnett versus Federico Staksrud semi-final? Jaume Martinez Vich is coming off of his backdraw monster gold medal performance at the APP last week. Christian Alshon has the talent to compete with and beat any guy in this singles field.
- Ben Johns / Anna Leigh Waters
- Riley Newman / Jessie Irvine
- James Ignatowitch / Anna Bright
Ben and Anna Leigh remain the dominant mixed doubles team. Riley and Jessie made a Championship Sunday in Kansas City, but got rolled by Ben and Anna Leigh, will they have any answers in Cincinnati? James Ignatowitch and Anna Bright have the second most podiums after Ben and Anna Leigh this year, but they are still struggling a bit with their consistency.
On the cusp: JW Johnson / Jorja Johnson can literally beat every team in this field on the right day, as they’ve shown this year, but they really struggle with consistency. Tyson McGuffin / Catherine Parenteau are the veteran team, who had a rare first round loss in Kansas City, but are one of the most consistent mixed teams out there. Thomas Wilson / Vivienne David are another team that compete with anyone in this field. There are a ton of frisky teams out there in a deep draw like Jackie Kawamoto / Pablo Tellez, Lea Jansen / Federico Staksrud, Milan Rane / Gabe Tardio, Christian Alshon / Andrea Koop, Tyra Black / Rafa Hewett and Tina Pisnik / Martin Emmrich.
- Anna Leigh Waters / Catherine Parenteau
- Anna Bright / Meghan Dizon
- Jackie Kawamoto / Jade Kawamoto
Anna Leigh still hasn’t lost in women’s doubles this year, and there is no reason to think she and Catherine will this week. Anna and Meghan are an intriguing partnership, with a high ceiling. The Kawamotos are almost always overlooked, but they are two of the more consistent women out there, and usually find their way to the podium.
On the cusp: Jorja Johnson / Allyce Jones, Jorja’s women’s results this year have not been great, but she and Allyce should pair very well together. Andrea Koop / Jessie Irvine are a team that six months ago we would have had on the podium for sure, but now it is hard to say where they fit in. Etta Wright / Irina Tereschenko have shown they can make Championship Sundays. Callie Smith / Lucy Kovalova are always the wildcard team. Tyra Black / Lauren Stratman have an extremely difficult draw, but are an intriguing new partnership.
- Anna Leigh Waters
- Catherine Parenteau
- Hurricane Tyra Black
Anna Leigh and Catherine are heavy favorites to make Championship Sunday, if anybody is going to spoil that, you have to think it will probably be Tyra Black.
On the cusp: Lauren Stratman, has made herself into a real podium threat in singles. Irina Tereschenko is always a threat to make a run. You never quite know what you are going to get with Mary Brascia, but in this field she is a real podium threat.
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