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Frazier, Sock return to competition at the Mesa Arizona Cup

By Allison Sumida

on Feb 21, 2024

The longest-standing PPA Tour tournament kicks off this week in Mesa, Arizona, with big names returning to tournament play after a short hiatus since the Masters. 

Returning to the tour

While all of the PPA Tour draws continue to deepen, the men’s singles draw presents the biggest opportunities for a new champion to emerge. The start to the 2024 season has already shown that World No. 1 Ben Johns is not the dominant force he has been in previous years. Two contenders with potential for deep runs on the men’s side are reigning Masters Champion Dylan Frazier and recent professional pickleball newcomer Jack Sock. Both players skipped the Desert Ridge Open, but had fantastic showings in the first tournament of the season.

Frazier always had the potential to be a solid singles player, but much of his success had been in doubles alongside partner J.W. Johnson. At the Masters, however, Frazier recorded victories over No. 3 Tyson McGuffin and No. 2 Federico Staksrud on his way to lifting his first singles title. All eyes will be on Frazier in Mesa as he looks to uphold his winning form, potentially facing off against the soon-to-be doctor and No. 12 Collin Shick in the round of 16.

Although Jack Sock’s time on the tour has been short, he has quickly garnered attention and plays some of the most exciting and non-traditional forms of pickleball. In his formal PPA Tour debut in January, Sock defeated No. 4 Connor Garnett and No. 6 Jay Devilliers en route to his bronze finish. Sock has already made impressive strides in singles, but it is his mixed doubles partnership with Catherine Parenteau that has the potential to rival top teams this season. 

Friends and foes

World No. 2 Catherine Parenteau is back in the mix for women’s singles, which means the Parenteau-Waters rivalry could see another chapter unfold. Anna-Leigh Waters will be looking for her 27th consecutive match win when she begins her campaign in Mesa, but Parenteau is one of the top contenders to disrupt Waters. The pair have played each other for the gold medal in six of the last eight PPA tournaments, with Waters taking a majority of the wins. 

Together, Parenteau and Waters also create an unstoppable force, with a 60-match and a 13-title win streak to maintain. The duo have dominated women’s doubles, but at the Desert Ridge Open, the Kawamoto twins, Jade and Jackie, got close. The Kawamotos believe they have cracked the secret to success against the top team, so it will be an interesting finals in Mesa if both teams can get there.

The Mesa Arizona Cup runs through February 25, so be sure to tune in on PickleballTV to see all the action!

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