Double Crown for Parenteau, Triple for Johns at PPA Florida Open
Catherine Parenteau has reached new heights in her professional career, taking home two gold medals and one silver on the weekend. Johns returns to dominance with three golds despite robust singles challenge from up-and-coming star Collin Shick.
The PPA Florida Open wrapped up today in what was a Championship Sunday for the books. The weekend was an especially big one for Catherine Parenteau, who entered three Championship matches today. After upsetting the top seeded Anna Leigh Waters in singles on Thursday, Parenteau closed the show for back-to-back PPA singles titles with a win over Lea Jansen. She also teamed up with Waters to bring home women's doubles gold, and walked away from the mixed doubles match with silver alongside partner Tyson McGuffin. Another key takeaway from the weekend is the arrival of North Carolina State tennis standout Collin Shick to the professional pickleball scene. Shick remarkably reached Championship Sunday in his first ever pro tournament, battling through a qualifier bracket on Thursday and winning seven straight matches. He took game one of the final today against Ben Johns, and will be an important player to keep an eye on moving forward.
Below are your Gold Medalists/Champions for the 2023 PPA Florida Open:
Men's Singles: Ben Johns.
Women's Doubles: Catherine Parenteau & Anna Leigh Waters.
Mixed Doubles: Ben Johns & Anna Leigh Waters.
Men's Doubles: Collin & Ben Johns.
Women's Singles: Catherine Parenteau.
PPA Florida Open Women's Singles Championship:
(4) Catherine Parenteau def. (2) Lea Jansen:
Catherine Parenteau can likely be considered the hottest name in pickleball after remarkably securing back-to-back double crown weekends on the PPA Tour. Parentau has established recent dominance in her singles game especially, and raised many eyebrows on Thursday after handedly defeating the top-seeded Anna Leigh Waters in two games. Parenteau carried over that momentum into the Championship match today versus Jansen, finding an impressive combination of power and spin from her Vanguard Power Air Invikta paddle to blend together a challenging combination of passing shots and drops from the baseline.
Parenteau particularly utilized pace on her backhand shots from the baseline, driving through the ball with authority to dictate points, set up sharp angles, and close the net at the perfect moment. She was also a force to be reckoned with once up at the kitchen line, often utilizing the extended reach of her paddle to stab volleys and find returns to Jansen's best drives. Parenteau won both games comfortably to secure the match and Championship. Despite entering as the fourth seed in the singles bracket, her recent form suggests she is the player to beat heading into the PPA Austin Showdown next week.
"My team has been next to me through the ups and downs. They kept pushing me and telling me I could do this if I worked hard," said Catherine Parenteau. "I'm so lucky to have amazing people on my team, and I'm going to keep working!"
PPA Florida Open Women's Doubles Championship:
(1) Catherine Parenteau & Anna Leigh Waters def. (6) Lacy Schneemann & Jade Kawamoto:
11-9, 11-3, 11-8.
Catherine Parenteau & Anna Leigh Waters looked like the number one seed throughout the entire weekend, and faced the least resistance throughout their journey to the title. They continued their great form today when they took on the sixth seeded Lacy Schneemann & Jade Kawamoto. Despite a choppy start that saw great defense on both sides of the net, Parenteau & Waters found their rhythm to begin dictating points and setting up their offensive opportunities.
The ability of the duo to have both players playing both sides of the court presents a particularly tough challenge for their opponents, as both Parenteau & Waters are able to cover angles on both sides and make strategic adjustments on the fly. By game two, the top seed was on fire and blasting shots with particular power and precision. They limited their errors and remained composed in the biggest moments of the match to close out the final game 11-8 and bring home the win.
"Anna Leigh is a beast next to me, I love playing with her," said Catherine Parenteau. "It was a great weekend for us."
PPA Florida Open Mixed Doubles Championship:
(1) Ben Johns & Anna Leigh Waters def. (3) Catherine Parenteau & Tyson McGuffin:
11-5, 11-2, 11-6.
Today's mixed doubles Championship marked the return of Tyson McGuffin, who had been on a brief hiatus from the tour to recover from a minor foot injury. Despite the return of McGuffin, the top seeded Johns & Waters brought their game in today's final and won the match relatively comfortably in three games. The pairing has now gone 63-2 as a team, the most dominant run in the history of the sport that will continue to be challenged as the talent pool on the pro scene continues to grow.
Johns utilized his typical imposing court presence in mixed doubles today, sliding over to the center of the court to dictate dink rallies and set up attacks. Waters produced a multifaceted array of backhand attacks whilst up at the kitchen line, using her ability to go up the line, down the middle, or back crosscourt.
PPA Florida Open Men's Singles Championship:
(1) Ben Johns def. (30) Collin Shick:
6-11, 11-3, 11-0.
Collin Shick had the tournament of his life thus far reaching the finals today all the way from qualifiers which began at 7:00am on Thursday morning. Taking the pickleball world by storm, all eyes were on Shick today as he went up against the World No.1 in Ben Johns. Shick came out of the gates firing and lived up to the biggest moment in his pickleball career thus far. He presented a unique challenge for Johns by producing significant cut on his volleys and leaving them very short for Johns to chase down. It was those "cut-volleys" that really gained early momentum for Shick to take game one 11-6.
Johns made the necessary adjustments going into game two and looked more prepared to deal with the athleticism and relentless court coverage from Shick. Johns took a more forward-moving approach and came up to the net much more often, getting the better of Shick in the majority of cat-and-mouse points. The battle between the rising star in Shick and decorated veteran in Johns will certainly be an exciting matchup pickleball fans will look forward to seeing again in the future.
"Congrats to Collin, what an incredible run to get from the qualifiers to the finals. That's amazing," said Ben Johns. "He has a ton of skill and he's an incredible athlete, I'm looking forward to seeing him out here more."
PPA Florida Open Men's Doubles Championship:
(1) Collin & Ben Johns def. (7) Julian Arnold & Thomas Wilson:
11-8, 11-6, 11-9.
The Johns brothers secured another PPA title and triple crown for Ben today by dictating the pace and keeping the pressure on the seventh seeded Arnold & Wilson. Despite the big energy and hype coming from Arnold & Wilson throughout the match, the Johns brothers were ready to counter-punch attacks and keep their composure to be the more solid team throughout.
Johns & Johns also were ready to pull the trigger on several occasions, winning the majority of hand battles up at the kitchen line and out-dinking their opponents to set up opportunities. The Johns brothers will head into the PPA Austin Showdown next week as the top seed and team to beat once again.
The PPA Tour continues next week with the Austin Showdown at the Elevation Athletic Club in Lakeway, Texas. Professional brackets will take place from March 16-19 and can be viewed live on the PPA Tour YouTube Channel.