Anna Leigh Waters Reigns Supreme At The PPA Championship in Las Vegas
Men’s doubles: 🥇Riley Newman & Matt Wright 🥈Ben Johns & Collin Johns 🥉JW Johnson & Dekel Bar
Women’s doubles: 🥇Anna Leigh Waters & Leigh Waters 🥈Anna Bright & Parris Todd 🥉Lucy Kovalova & Callie Smith
Mixed doubles: 🥇Anna Leigh Waters & Ben Johns🥈Catherine Parenteau & JW Johnson 🥉Lindsey Newman & Riley Newman
Men’s singles: 🥇Ben Johns 🥈JW Johnson🥉Dylan Frazier
Women’s singles: 🥇Anna Leigh Waters 🥈Catherine Parenteau 🥉Salome Devidze
One triple crown was denied, while the other succeeded! Here is everything that happened at the PPA Championships in Las Vegas over the weekend, including some big drama in the women’s doubles bracket.
Riley Newman and Matt Wright once again defeated Ben and Collin Johns in yet another championship Sunday showdown. This rivalry, which was once dominated by the Johns brothers, has shifted in favor of Newman/Wright. They won in a five game-thriller, 11-2, 11-2, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8. Newman and Wright have now won the last three of four meetings in the finals against the brothers. With the victory, they also denied Johns from his triple crown bid.
Heading into this bracket pre-tournament, many fans were thinking this could be the tournament that breaks up the stranglehold Newman/Wright and the Johns have had on the championship Sunday action. The teams on that shortlist were JW Johnson/Dekel Bar and Dylan Frazier/Zane Navratil, both coming from the APP tour.
While both of these teams ended the tournament with some great runs, it wasn’t enough to dethrone the number one and two seeds. Johnson and Bar, though they lost to the eventual gold medalists in the quarter-finals, came bouncing back in the opportunity bracket to take bronze over their APP counterparts.
Anna Leigh Waters and Leigh Waters defeated new partnership, Anna Bright and the newly signed Selkirk-player Parris Todd in the finals, 3-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9. While Bright and Todd didn’t come away with the victory, they played some extremely high-level pickleball and defeated the number one seeds Lucy Kovalova and Callie Smith (who eventually claimed bronze) in the process.
Not only did the Waters win against Bright and Todd, but they battled through “Lob-Gate” or “Sun-Gate.” In the quarter-finals against Yana Newell (formerly Yana Grechkina) and Regina Franco Goldberg, the challengers were throwing up lobs into the Sun against the Waters.
That frustrated Momma Waters so much that she gave her opponents a scolding. She said something along the lines of “Are you going to play us straight up?” Later, Leigh also yelled that lobbing into the Sun wasn’t a legitimate strategy. Meanwhile, Daughter Waters tried to get her mom back into the right headspace, but it was too late. The Waters dropped that second game, but came back to win the third game and the match.
Lindsey Newman and Jessie Irvine teamed up once again, but with their lack of offense, they weren’t able to make a deep run. They lost to the Waters in the winner’s bracket and Parenteau/Lea Jansen in the backdraw.
Fans got the matchup they wanted, but when it was all said and done, it still produced the same result. Spectators got to witness Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns winning their ninth mixed doubles gold medal this year over the newly formed duo in Catherine Parenteau and Johnson. Fans were hoping to see Parenteau and Johnson contend against Waters/Johns, because that was essentially the only team Waters/Johns hadn't beaten at that time.
Now the number one seeds have a win over that team too. Unfortunately for Parenteau, she might not be able to team up with Johnson in the near future, as he normally plays on the APP tour. It’s only occasionally that Johnson makes his way to the PPA tour, to play with all the stars there.
In Lindsey Newman’s pro pickleball return, after an almost two month-layoff, she teamed up with her brother Riley Newman to take the bronze in this stacked division. They beat Leigh Waters and Tyson McGuffin, 11-5, 11-9. Todd/Dylan Frazier and Bright/Tyler Loong had solid outings, both ending their runs one win away from the bronze medal match.
In his last event on championship Sunday, Johns beat Johnson, 11-5, 11-8, 11-1. You would have thought that having played in the mixed and men’s doubles finals, Johns would have been gassed. But he showed his stamina in singles against the 19-year-old. This was a great win for Johns ,as he hasn’t won a singles gold in two months. While that might not be a lot of time, it definitely had some fans and commentators wondering if the division was starting to pass him up.
This gold was also a historic medal in the sense that this bracket hosted a record breaking 76 competitors. The division started early Thursday morning with a qualifying round, which knocked down the main draw to 48 athletes.
Frazier was the last man to fill out the podium, coming out victorious over Argentinian Federico Staksrud in the bronze medal match. While only earning one medal, Frazier had an outstanding tournament and was very close in the other two divisions he didn’t medal in.
Waters took the singles crown and with it, she won her fifth triple crown this year! She is virtually unstoppable. Singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles all belonged to Waters. I mean what is there left to say? The Paddletek-player made it look easy as she beat Catherine Parenteau in the finals in straight games.
The 15-year-old phenom didn’t drop a game all tournament in singles, which included the gold medal match. She painted the line on her shots, rushed the net when the opportunity presented itself and made the Canadian play tough ball after tough ball.
Salome Devidze, the former Georgian tennis player took third after taking the bronze medal victory over Bright.
The big storyline entering this tournament was a potential rematch between Waters and Todd, being that Todd is the only woman to have beaten Waters in singles this year. But that rematch turned out to be the rematch that never was. Todd lost in the semi-finals against Parenteau and then withdrew from the opportunity bracket. After the tournament, Todd was still positive on Instagram noting she hasn’t said her last word.