Minto US Open Live Blog – Men’s and Women’s Pro – April 23, 2021

Can Team Europe find a way to the gold medal match?

It’s been a long week but we’re finally ready for the main events. It should be an action packed day. You can see our men’s preview and women’s preview we did last week. We have been 100% with all of our predictions for the US Open so there is no need to bother with worrying about any of the other teams in the bracket. The draws are so much more important at the US Open though because there isn’t a backdoor way into the gold. That means you do not want to be on the Johns’ or Simone/Lucy half of the draw if you want to win it all.

11:03 pm EST (Gritty) – Some final thoughts on the day. A lot less in the way of upsets today. Young/Dawson could have easily been playing for bronze today. Otherwise, the Yates/Wright crushing of Devilliers/Smith is the most shocking result. Slim talked about an emotional letdown after a narrow loss to the Johns brother but it was clear in that McGuffin/Newman match that Yates was playing as well as he has since 2019. Maybe Yates can still be an elite beta player and he may have had a bronze if not for cramping. Yates needs to be paired with a Ben Johns or Wright type player to compete for podiums and he has to accept his ceiling as an elite beta.

I’m hoping for a bananas women’s final tomorrow because today was a snooze fest in terms of competitiveness, at least relative to the wild results we have seen this week. McGuffin/Newman have been frustrated by their results against the Johns’ over the past year. I don’t know what the answer is for them but they ought to think about stacking Riley on the right side of the court simply to try something different.

Finally, I get that CBS Sports is showing the gold matches live tomorrow and they want to showcase these matches on a Saturday evening. From a competitiveness standpoint, having a bunch of guys and gals tired after what will presumably be a long mixed day for some of them is not ideal. I think they should figure something else out for scheduling and I hope it doesn’t unfairly cost a partnership a gold medal.

8:43 pm EST (Gritty) – It is a weather delay with the Waters on the verge of taking bronze. It hasn’t been close but these weather delays can do weird things. Hopefully they can get the matches in today.

7:45 pm EST (Gritty) – An absolutely monstrous week for both Eva Welsher and Scott Moore. Moore has been a staple for years in the senior pro game but this week has to be the highlight of Eva Welsher’s pickleball career. Super well deserved. Williams/Granot fought hard but they ultimately couldn’t match what Welsher/Moore had today. Can’t say I would have pegged either of these teams for a gold in a deep field but that is why we play the games. These players might need a few ice baths over the weekend.

The women’s gold and bronze are set. Our top 2 seeds are fighting for gold while our #3 and #4 seeds are battling it out for bronze. I wouldn’t expect major surprises for these women’s matches or the men’s gold.

6:24 pm EST (Slim) – Tyson and Riley take bronze, in an entertaining match full of runs. Kyle and Matt seemed to be in control taking the first game and 5-0 lead in the second game, with Kyle playing well and being able to go behind Riley a few times, and then suddenly Tyson and Riley got going, with Kyle seeming to lose patience (perhaps feeling a little too good about his game) but then it quickly became clear that Kyle was also cramping. Things seemed like they might be over with Tyson and Riley coming back to take game 2 and a commanding 8-0 lead in game 3, but to their credit Kyle and Matt kept fighting and came back to take an 9-8 lead. However, I also felt like Tyson and Riley lost focus during that run, and they were able to regain their focus and pull out an 11-9 game victory.

5:21 pm EST (Gritty) – the gold is set for the women with the two best teams playing each other. I wanted to give some brief thoughts before the men’s bronze. I was definitely higher on Yates/Wright going into the tournament. I had them as my 6th ranked team and they beat my 3rd ranked team, Jay/Pat. If Tyson/Riley stay disciplined going to Yates, I don’t see how they lose. Should that occur, I’m curious to see Yates in this familiar role stacked on the right side of the court. He tries to do too much these days in my opinion but if he can just sit over there like he used to in the old days (i.e. 2018, 2019), they should be able to compete.

5:03 pm EST (Gritty) – Big couple of days for Dan Granot. His partner Bonnie Williams is a veteran of the game with some very good results, but you have to wonder if both Mills and MacGregor are exhausted. They have played A LOT of pickleball this week. Nationals and the US Open are grueling, and putting that much wear and tear on 50 plus bodies. I can’t even comprehend.

4:36 pm EST (Gritty) – I probably need to stop making conclusions about a match after one game, but Parenteau/Smith won easily in the third over the Waters duo. They are a dangerous pairing and with that Franklin ball it will be interesting to see them if they get that Simone/Lucy matchup. They were so close to taking gold over them just a few weeks ago.

Team NewGuffin faces Yates/Wright for bronze after a close match against the Rob’s. Nunnery is coming onto the scene but cannot forget about Cassidy who really shows out at these tournaments when he has the right partner. Cassidy is another underrated guy with a super unorthodox style. He gets it done and is someone I can’t imagine the top guys enjoy facing.

Too much going on but Morariu/Johnson took down the Dawson’s. I would expect Julie Johnson would have had to play well but super impressive from Mircea as Jenn Dawson is by far the superior female in that matchup.

3:59 pm EST (Gritty) – The women’s bracket is basically going exactly as we expected it to. It’s only one game but Smith/Parenteau seem to be onto the Waters. I have had concerns that teams are getting used to the Waters’ banging but I really don’t think that Franklin ball helps them. I also don’t think it matters for Parenteau/Smith. They are #good.

A quick update on the mixed senior pro where the bracket is also going about you would predict. It’s an interesting bracket becaues the best men are not paired with the best women. MacGregor is with Mills who I would expect to see in the gold. However, Gingrich is with Yvonne Ting on the same side of the bracket. The bottom half could go a number of ways. The Dawson’s don’t play a ton together (spouses lol), Sperling has had some level of success with Jagd and Welsher/Moore have both had a superb week so far.

3:34 pm EST (Slim) – Dekel Bar and Adam Stone defeated Tyson McGuffin and Riley Newman in three hard fought sets to advance to the gold medal match. Dekel Bar made himself huge (as if he wasn’t already haha) and covered a lot of the court, putting a lot of pressure on Tyson and Riley. I also suspect Tyson and Riley would like a few of their unforced errors back. Dekel and Adam did beat Ben and Collin TWICE at Simone’s tournament earlier this year, so you can be sure the Johns Brothers will be looking for revenge tomorrow.

In the back draw, Kyle Yates and Matt Wright smoked Jay and Patrick 15-2 to go to the bronze. I have to guess that was a big letdown game for Jay and Patrick after coming so close in the semi final against the Johns Brothers. I will be curious if we see something similar in the other game to go to bronze, as you know the Robs are going to be very hungry to get there, and you have to wonder if Tyson and Riley are going to be able to regroup quickly. I think these US Open losses hit a little harder knowing, there is no longer a path to gold.

2:32 pm EST (Slim) – the Women’s Semi-Finals are set and the bracket so far has been very chalky. We’ve got Simone and Lucy vs Irina and Jessie on the top half and the Waters versus Callie and Catherine on the bottom half. I am still expecting a Simone/Lucy vs. Callie/Catherine final, but can the Waters make their way back there? Or is this just Irina’s week?

2:10 pm EST (Slim) – The Johns Brother beat Jay Devilliers and Patrick Smith 11-7 in the third game to advance to the gold medal match. Is anyone more clutch in those situations than Ben Johns? You just expect him to win those kind of games.

The bigger story though is that the US Open and Pickleball Channel should be ashamed of themselves, no stream of the Johns Brothers versus Jay and Patrick. I was able to catch a lot of the match through Hannah Johns Streaming it for her mom, but she got shutdown at 7-7 in game 3! Brutal! (No comment from Hannah, by the way, on who she cheering for in the match between her brother and her beau Patrick Smith.) The fact that no actual live stream was available though is brutal for the sport. Also they might have missed being able to showcase the biggest star in the sport Ben Johns at all today, had he lost that match.

1:34 pm EST (Slim) – Tyler Loong and Spencer Smith had to fight off a few match points, against Eden Lica and JW Johnson to come back and win 16-14. Eden and JW were up 14-12, however then JW had a couple unfortunate easy misses at the net to let Tyler and Spencer back in and take it. Spencer and Tyler, seemed to be playing a lot of balls at JW which given Eden’s consistency was likely a smart play. As I mentioned in my preview, I would really like Tyler and Spencer to add a couple more attacks at the net to their game, as I feel like too much of their offense comes from the baseline, I also think would both be well served to serve it harder, as it would really compliment their great drives.

The women’s first round is complete with Newman/David defeating Ansboury/Franco in three games.

1:08 pm EST (Slim) – In what would probably qualify as a small upset, Rob Nunnery and Rob Cassidy knock off Callan Dawson and DJ Young 16-14, as two of the bigger grinders on the tour, you know the Robs will really be fighting to get that bronze. Also Dylan Frazier and Jonny Andrews run continues as they knock off Evans/Dasecu 15-12. I would not have predicted this Frazier/Andrews run

12:53 pm EST (Slim) – Looking at the men’s back draw, in what I see in what I would call a surprising upset Jonny Pickleball Andrews and Dylan Frazier knocked out Jeff Warnick and Joey Farias 15-3. Only turning 20 this year, Frazier is someone to keep an eye. Speaking of young players to keep an eye on JW Johnson and Eden Lica, handled Zane Navatril and Altaf Merchant pretty handily 15-7. I am very curious about who comes out of their next match up against Spencer Smith and Tyler Loong. I think Eden is a great partner for JW with his great hands, and ability to play the right side of the court so well, plus the fact he seems to have no ego and let’s the much younger Johnson take a little more court, while playing his role in the partnership.

12:44 pm EST (Slim) – Dekel/Adam defeated Yates/Wright in three and by our estimation at least the men’s bracket has been pretty much chalk, which should hopefully make for some entertaining semi-finals. It’s been interesting watching the men’s as the soft Franklin ball is very hard to put away and leads to some very long rallies.

The women’s first round is almost over and so far going as expected, though we are waiting on the Ansboury/Franco vs Newman/David result, which was set to be the most competitive first round match up by far.

12:37 pm EST (Gritty) – The brackets are essentially going as expected at this point and they will definitely have if Dekel/Adam can move on to the semi-finals (or at least as we expected it would play out). I think Slim was a little higher on Deakin/Weinbach than I was but it is always unfortunate to see an injury derail a tournament for players. Michelle Esquivel noted on one of her streams that Deakin is injured in some fashion. Hopefully it is not serious.

11:30 am EST (Slim) – the men’s quarter finals are set. In the second round the Johns brothers were taken to 3 sets, by Eden Lica and JW Johnson, I do wonder if Ben was fully engaged, but their is no denying Eden and JW are talented players with great hands. In the most competitive of the second round match ups Spencer Smith and Tyler Loong beat Jeff Warnick and Joey Farias in 3 games, winning the third 11-8.

So the quarter finals are Johns Brothers vs Evans/Dasecu, Smith/Devilliers v. Dawson/Young, Yates/Wright vs Bar/Stone, and Loong/Smith vs McGuffin/Newman. I am really curious to see who prevails in the SMith/Devilliers vs Dawson/Young match, I would expect that to be a close and competitive match. They had a big battle at the world pickleball championships a couple months ago.

Unfortunately, a continued theme of the week is the frustration over the lack of streams. I will continue to mystified over why a major tournament does not stream multiple courts pretty much all day. Looking at the likely quarter final match ups coming up and it is crazy that we won’t be able to watch pretty much all of those matches, let alone some of the earlier match ups. We do greatly appreciate those pirate streamers who do stream what they do during the day, so we can get some coverage. I think the APP tour with it multiple streams all day has set a standard, and I really hope the other major tournaments and the PPA are taking note.

11:05 am EST (Slim) – I wondered what form Morgan Evans and Andrei Dasecu might be in, is neither player has been playing a lot of tournaments lately, but apparently there is no real rust, as they handled Merchant-Navatril 11-5, 11-3. Their reward, is a likely quarter finals match-up with the Johns Brothers.

Kyle Yates and Matt Wright squeaked by Lange and Goebel in 2 games, 11-9, 12-10. Adam Stone and Dekel Bar handled their business against the Robs, Nunner and Cassidy, 11-5, 11-5.

10:53 am EST (Slim) – DJ Young and Callan Dawson move on the quarter finals after a Deakin and Weinbach retirement in the second round. Not sure what happened here, but am hoping a serious injury isn’t involved.

10:37 am EST (Slim) – the men’s opening round results are in. A lot of fairly easy wins for the higher seeds and no big upsets. Both of the matches that Gritty highlighted before the day started were close and tightly contested matches with AJ Koller and John Cincola beating Ernesto Fajardo and Juan Arraya in all three games being decided 11-9, that’s about as close as it can get. Tyler Loong and Spencer Smith beat Rafa Hewett and Johnny Goldberg in three games as well, winning the second two games with relative ease. I was surprised to see Jesse Simon and Jay Campbell take Warnick/Farias to a third game, where Warnick and Farias did prevail, but that might have just been a slow start for Warnick/Farias.

9:52 am EST (Slim) – I agree with Gritty that these men’s field just continue to get deeper, by the second round there really aren’t any free games for anyone. In the women’s draw I would suspect we will get semi finals of Lucy/Simone vs. Jessie/Irina and Catherine/Callie vs the Waters. Looking forward to some early results trickling in soon.

8:15 am EST (Gritty) – The fields are so deep now in these big tournaments for the men. If you’re not one of top teams, it’s basically a toss up in your first round matchup. A team like AJ Koller and John Cincola have to play Ernesto Fajardo and Juan Arraya. Tyler Loong and Spencer Smith beat the Johns’ and won a silver at the Arizona PPA this year so they get the pleasure of playing Rafa Hewett and Johnny Goldberg in round one. All bets are off in round two. This will only continue to get harder. Also, an early (almost) RIP to Vivienne David/Lindsey Newman as well as Irina/Jessie Irvine for being on the Simone side of the draw.

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