PPA Tour Kansas City Open Preview

📸 @ppatour

We go from some less than ideal heat and wind in Brigham City to 100 plus temperatures forecasted for the singles day in Kansas City. Gritty is away for the next couple of weeks so some of the usual programming is on hold and we’ll have traditional previews in lieu of our standard fantasy draft previews.

Men’s Doubles

1. Ben Johns / Matt Wright – Newcomers to pro pickleball might not know that these two took a little time before proving to be the best team in men’s doubles. Unfortunately for Matt, Collin Johns was waiting in the wings for Ben. Matt gets another kick at the can and he and Ben are favorites to win.

2. Dylan Frazier / JW Johnson – Let’s see what the maturing kids can do against Ben Johns and Matt Wright, assuming they get there.

3. Riley Newman / Julian Arnold – Riley got a silver in a thinner field last week but almost lost to Pat/Jay with Koller. The clunky fit between he and Arnold will be a challenge, but we aren’t getting off the Riley train so soon.

On the Cusp

⁃ Pablo Tellez / Federico Staksrud – It has not been a good run recently for these two.

⁃ Tyson McGuffin / James Ignatowich – Coming off an impressive gold, this is a team no one wants to see right now.

Intriguing Teams

These are teams likely outside of contention, but should be fun to watch. Connor Garnett / Gabe Tardio have been on heaters since their last partnership together. Travis Rettenmaier / AJ Koller have not been getting results so we’ll see if Travis can reign in the enigmatic Koller. Jay Devilliers / Dekel Bar are an awkward fit together and Dekel’s results simply haven’t been there in 2023. Thomas Wilson / Pat Smith are interesting if Pat’s head is okay for his hometown tournament.

Men’s Singles

1. Ben Johns – Nothing to say here. It’s Ben.

2. Federico Staksrud – He was inches away from beating Garnett to get to Sunday and then pulled it together to win a bronze right after.

3. Tyson McGuffin – He had a soft draw last week and there could be some hangover, but let’s give some positive talk to the McMuffin.

On the Cusp

⁃ Connor Garnett – A silver medal in Utah and a tight couple of games against Tyson.

⁃ Jaume Martinez Vich – He is due for a breakout soon.

⁃ JW Johnson – Up and down singles results with gold medal upside.

Intriguing Players

Christian Alshon has not quite been there in singles lately, but he is dangerous. The Ultra Omega Super Warrior, Quang Duong, is in a plateau phase currently, but he almost beat Garnett in Utah.

Mixed Doubles

1. Anna Leigh Waters / Ben Johns – They are the team to beat.

2. Jessie Irvine / Riley Newman – Last chance for Riley before we start singing him further for his lack of results.

3. Catherine Parenteau / Tyson McGuffin – They are coming off an impressive gold medal match

On the Cusp

⁃ Jorja Johnson / JW Johnson – This team has high end ceiling but they could just as easily be out in the quarters.

⁃ Anna Bright / James Ignatowich – Let’s chalk up the weird Rohrabacher/Daescu loss at TOC to a major hiccup.

Intriguing Teams

Allyce Jones / Jay Devilliers are intriguing despite a lack of power. Rachel Rohrabacher / Rafa Hewett are playing together again as these lefties continue to stunt the mixed development of new players. Hurricane Tyra Black / Christian Alshon are teaming up again and present a lot of talent. Rianna Valdes / Tyler Loong with Tyler continuing to play with rising female talent. Callie Smith / Dekel Bar are not a match made in heaven, but are interesting from a power perspective.

Women’s Doubles

1. Catherine Parenteau / Anna Leigh Waters – Have you heard that Anna Leigh is undefeated in women’s this year.

2. Anna Bright / Meghan Dizon – Anna hasn’t made it to a gold medal match without Anna Leigh in a hot minute. Dizon presents a very good partnership for her.

3. Callie Smith / Lucy Kovalova – Amongst all the new talent, these two are still very much relevant and Callie’s improvements to her backhand are helping a lot.

On the Cusp

⁃ Jorja Johnson / Vivienne David – Vivienne David can win with any strong left sider and they are a scary team despite Jorja’s sub-par women’s results in 2023.

⁃ Jessie Irvine / Lea Jansen – This is a good team on paper that hasn’t been able to translate that into good results.

Intriguing Teams

Hurricane Tyra Black / Lacy Schneemann bring a high level of athleticism to this partnership. Lina Padegimaite / Allyce Jones is a new pairing as Lina is playing her first event since MLP San Clemente. Rianna Valdes / Rachel Rohrabacher are two rising females with a good left and right side fit together.

Women’s Singles

1. Anna Leigh Waters – Is ALW washed after her loss to Tyra Black? (Jokes)

2. Catherine Parenteau – The unquestioned #2 after the Lea Jansen alleged retirement from singles.

3. Judit Castillo – Judit seems to have some kind of block when playing Irina, but otherwise the game is coming along

On the Cusp

⁃ Mary Brascia – She hasn’t had a big result in a little while.

⁃ Lauren Stratman – 2 bronze medals in a row for Lauren in singles.

Intriguing Players

Jorja Johnson has the ability to medal on the right day and same goes for Irina Tereschenko. Lacy Schneemann has not seen an uptick in her singles results. Chao Yi Wang isn’t going to be in the mix, but she is an intriguing talent.

Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below or email us at nmlpickleball@gmail.com. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Threads and Facebook. Also, listen and subscribe to our podcast on Apple, Spotify and YouTube!

3 thoughts on “PPA Tour Kansas City Open Preview

  • August 23, 2023 at 6:05 pm

    Too bad Garnett/Tardio are likely to meet McGuffin/Ignatowich round 2 before QF. I didn’t know Dawson was back and with Patriquin. They almost beat the Johns. If they get to QF against Staksrud/Tellez and win, a SF against Johns/Wright would be awesome. Both MD SF could be as good as a gold match. I wonder which gold match spectators would rather have. Wright/Johns vs JW/Dylan or vs James/Tyson.

    I admit I wish JW and Jorja weren’t in the hot singles day so they’d be fresher for MXD and Doubles day.

  • August 23, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    If Ben/Matt meet Riley/Julian, somebody in the stands please point a mike at the players. I would listen to just the audio.

    All about the MD this time. Nobody wants to meet Tyson/Iggy, nobody wants to meet Ben/Matt, nobody wants to meet Riley/Julian, nobody wants to meet JW/Dylan — I’m sensing a pattern here.
    Fed/Pablo, too, and I would probably put them over Riley/Julian, just based on how clunky Riley/Julian looked in Seattle.

    Then you get the Garnett/Tardio type teams, who, if hot, could wreck somebody’s tournament. The way Patrick Smith has been playing lately, I wouldn’t want to face Smith/Wilson.

    We need a betting pool. The number of collisions between Dekel and Jay. Maybe a drinking game?

    • August 23, 2023 at 8:51 pm

      The MD may be the only entertaining matches with their diverse styles of partnerships.


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