Catherine Parenteau & Anna Leigh Waters to Face Lacy Schneemann & Jade Kawamoto for PPA Florida Open Championship
Today was gender doubles day at the The Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) Tour Florida Open at the Pictona in Holly Hill as the world's top professional pickleball players returned to an excellent facility to compete in a deep bracket and ideal sunny conditions for pickleball. Some new faces saw Semifinal opportunities today, but the top seeds on both sides prevailed for a shot at gold. Bronze medalists from gender doubles action today include Dylan Frazier, JW Johnson, Lea Jansen, and Allyce Jones. Below are your gender doubles Championship matchups scheduled for tomorrow:
Women's Doubles Championship (Sunday, March 12th):
(1) Catherine Parenteau & Anna Leigh Waters vs. (6) Lacy Schneemann & Jade Kawamoto.
Parenteau & Waters:
Def. Bates & Nobler 11-1, 11-0.
Def. Koop & David 11-4, 11-6.
Def. Sheehan-Dizon & Wright 11-0, 11-2.
It was a smooth day at the office for the number one seeded Catherine Parenteau & Anna Leigh Waters today. They conceded only 13 points in the entirety of their matches today, a remarkable accomplishment in such a tough field. They backed up their top seed status throughout the day today, playing their very best with very few errors committed, and they repeatedly kept their cool in high-pressure situations.
As Anna Leigh Waters has trialed a few different partnerships thus far in 2023, her play with Parenteau today was the highest level pickleball and easiest path to a Championship Sunday to date for any team on the PPA Tour. The duo were world-class and intentional with their shot selections, and often played "straight up" to give opponents different looks and angles to worry about as the opponent across from them was routinely changing. After another dominant 11-0, 11-2 win in the Semifinal versus Sheehan-Dizon & Wright, Parenteau & Waters will be favored to earn another Championship together tomorrow on Championship Sunday.
"I think we can play pretty well on both sides, and since it was working well in that match we decided to keep going," said Catherine Parenteau. "That way, it can sometimes be harder for opponents to come up with a game plan."
Schneemann & Kawamoto:
Def. Black & Carr 11-5, 11-1.
Def. Rane & Franco 11-13, 11-2, 11-4.
Def. Bright & Todd 12-10, 4-11, 11-9.
Def. Jansen & Jones 11-8, 11-1.
In the biggest surprise of the day, 6 seed and new partnership of Lacy Schneemann & Jade Kawamoto pulled off two big upsets today to punch a ticket to their first-ever Championship Sunday final. Schneemann, who has been a recent standout in Major League Pickleball (MLP) as a member of the New York Hustlers, played particularly solid throughout the day and showcased a great display of offensive weapons from the kitchen line. Jade Kawamoto complemented her beautifully with extremely fast hands and reliable defensive resets when necessary, and played today with the popular Selkirk Vanguard Power Air Invikta paddle.
In a thrilling Quarterfinal match, Schneemann & Kawamoto completed a massive three-game upset over Parris Todd & Anna Bright, a team that had many eyes heading into today. Perhaps even more impressively, the 6 seed made the Semifinal look easier, winning the match convincingly in two games by playing solid, strategic, and smart pickleball against the in-form duo of Lea Jansen & Allyce Jones. Jansen & Jones would go on to take home the bronze medal.
"We've never played together before today, so I'm a little bit surprised with how much chemistry we had out there today", said Lacy Schneemann. "I'm having a great time playing with Jade and we had a great time out there today."
Men's Doubles Championship (Sunday, March 12th):
(1) Ben & Collin Johns vs. (7) Julian Arnold & Thomas Wilson.
Johns & Johns:
Def. Reason & Davison 11-1, 7-11, 11-5.
Def. Koszuta & Johnson 11-2, 11-9.
Def. Koller & Bar 11-5, 11-3.
Def. Frazier & Johnson 11-3, 11-8.
Pickleball's most famous sibling duo of Collin & Ben Johns returned to PPA Tour action today and looked like they had never left, out-dinking and overpowering opponents throughout the day to book yet another spot in a Championship Sunday matchup. Johns & Johns overcame an eyebrow-raising first round where they were pushed to three games by the 32nd seed in the bracket, perhaps a sign of the growing talent pool coming into professional pickleball. Despite the slow start, Johns & Johns found their form throughout the day and reached their playing peak at the perfect time to win their Quarterfinal and Semifinal rounds quite comfortably.
With the absence of Matt Wright from today's action, some opportunities opened up as he was not partnered alongside his usual partner in Riley Newman. Thus, pickleball fans saw some new and exciting matchups in the later rounds of today's bracket. One thing that isn't new, however, is another Championship berth for Johns & Johns. They will be favored to bring home the gold on Sunday against Arnold & Wilson. Selkirk's own Dylan Frazier & JW Johnson brought home bronze medal's after battling through a tough bracket today.
Arnold & Wilson:
Def. Siljestrom & Farias 11-7, 11-4.
Def. Loong & Cassidy 11-3, 11-2.
Def. Jenkins & Kacergis 11-8, 11-1.
Def. Navritil & Young 5-11, 11-3, 11-9.
Julian Arnold & Thomas Wilson are one of the most fun new combinations to watch on the PPA Tour. Thanks to their huge firepower and Arnold's big on-court personality, the duo was a fun one to watch throughout the day, and they utilized their big combined energy to deliver in the biggest moments.
The 7 seed handled business throughout their first three rounds today, but were pushed to the absolute brink in the Semifinal against an exciting new pairing of Zane Navritil & DJ Young. The match was a classic and was back and forth throughout. The points were high octane and the team chemistry on both sides of the net was on display throughout through shouts of encouragement and several chest bumps. Despite falling to a 9-6 defecet in the final and decisive game three, Arnold & Wilson found the energy and momentum swing to come back and close the deal, winning 11-9. The pairing will try to keep that energy and use it to solve the tricky puzzle of Collin & Ben Johns in the Championship tomorrow.
"We're still getting used to each other, there is still a lot to learn between me and Thomas," said Julian Arnold. "I bring the thunder and he brings the lightning."
The PPA Florida Open concludes tomorrow with Championship Sunday, and coverage begins on the PPA Tour YouTube Channel at 10:00am ET. All eyes will be on Catherine Parenteau as she looks to take advantage of a rare triple crown opportunity. Below are the matchups for Championship Sunday tomorrow:
Ben Johns vs. Collin Shick
Catherine Parenteau vs. Lea Jansen
Waters & Johns vs. Parenteau & McGuffin
Johns & Johns vs. Arnold & Wilson
Parenteau & Waters vs. Schneemann & Kawamoto