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Ignatowich Into Second Straight Mixed Final to Start 2024


By Joshua Gartman

on Feb 02, 2024

It was a rollercoaster of a day in the mixed doubles draw at Desert Ridge as many top seeds fell early on. The cooler conditions in Arizona favored a more aggressive drive and crash approach and we saw some lower seeds capitalize on that to take down some of the sport’s bigger names. Let's summarize what took place and who will be competing for the title on Sunday.

Mixed Doubles Championship: (1) Ben Johns/Anna Leigh Waters vs (2) James Ignatowich/Anna Bright

No surprises as the top two seeds make their way into another final. They faced off just a couple weeks ago in the finals at the Hyundai Masters with Johns and Waters taking the victory. However, Ignatowich/Bright have looked like the better team so far in Arizona. Johns/Waters were down a match point to Tellez/Wright early in the day and narrowly escaped 14-12 in the 3rd game. They followed that up with a three-game victory over (6) Alshon/Parenteau in the QF and a tight two game victory over (21) Black/Ge in the SF. Fantastic run by the AZ native Ge and Black as they dethroned (7) Wright/Kovalova and (4) Newman/Kawamoto to make the semifinals.

Ignatowich and Bright were all business today as they did not drop a game en route to Sunday’s final. Their toughest test came in the semifinals vs Wilson/David but they walked away with an 11-5, 12-10 win after being down 8-10 in game 2. Ignatowich is one of the few players on tour that has looked unaffected by the new serve rule (put in place to neutralize the serve) as he is still putting them in play at an extremely high pace. This allows both he and Bright to earn cheap points and easily maneuver to the kitchen line on their 3rds. They’ll need James to bring his best serving performance if they want to take down the top seeds on Sunday.

On the Horizon

A full day of gender doubles in slated to start at a 11AM MST on PickleballTV. On the men’s side the favorites will be the Johns brothers and Newman/Wilson but look out for Ignatowich/Wright or Staksrud/Tellez to break through to their first men’s final of the year. On the women’s side Waters/Parenteau continue to be the team to beat but Rohrabacher/Bright will want a rematch after putting up a valiant fight down in Palm Springs. It should be an exciting day of pro pickleball so make sure to tune into the coverage or follow along Selkirk’s Instagram page for updates on your favorite Selkirk pros.

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