Johns Brothers Roll, Newcomers Dominate, and McGuffin & Waters Back on Top On Championship Sunday
Ferrari forehands by Tyson McGuffin and Anna Leigh Waters in singles, dominant middle play by Ben Johns in doubles and Anna Bright’s first PPA gold medal led the action on championship Sunday at the PPA Baird Wealth Management Open in Ohio.
Men’s doubles: 🥇Ben Johns & Collin Johns 🥈Tyson McGuffin & Jay Devilliers
Women’s doubles: 🥇Jessie Irvine & Anna Bright 🥈Catherine Parenteau & Lea Jansen
Mixed doubles: 🥇Anna Leigh Waters & Ben Johns 🥈Jessie Irvine & Jay Devilliers
Men’s singles: 🥇Tyson McGuffin 🥈Hunter Johnson
Women’s singles: 🥇Anna Leigh Waters 🥈Lea Jansen
Ben and Collin Johns showed McGuffin and Jay Devilliers that there is another level in men’s doubles, taking home the gold by winning three out of four games. In their typical fashion, Ben dominated the middle with his forehand and did an excellent job of moving his opponents around and making them uncomfortable. Collin provided support to his younger brother by resetting almost everything and keeping balls unattackable.
McGuffin and Devilliers implemented a rather conservative gameplan against the siblings, electing to drop, dink and seldom speed it up. Of course, it’s incredibly difficult to do so against the Johns, but that may have been a strategy to consider. While it wasn’t the result they wanted, this is their first silver medal as a duo.
Anna Bright gets her first PPA gold medal alongside Jessie Irvine over Catherine Parenteau and Lea Jansen. Irvine also gets her first women’s gold medal of the year doing so against her former teammate in Parenteau. After missing out on some first place finishes earlier this year, Irvine and Parenteau decided to split up. Now Irvine has that gold that she was searching for with a relatively new partner in Bright.
Bright/Irvine stacked the entire match allowing Bright to play on the left side where she is much more dominant. Irvine then locked down the right side, putting balls back into the kitchen and smashing anything left high. Parenteau and Jansen will certainly go back to the drawing board as they haven’t gotten a gold as a team in over four months.
Irvine had all the momentum and confidence from her women’s doubles performance going into the mixed doubles finals, but not even that was enough to take down the favorites in Anna Leigh Waters and Johns. Like his effort in men’s doubles, Johns took over the middle and constantly pressured his opponents.
The 15-year-old phenom had her moments too, but acted more as a complementary piece to Johns. She did her part when she got into dink battles against Irvine, trying to create pop-ups for Johns to finish. Credit to Irvine/Devilliers who tried to change their strategy a few different times to derail the champs.
In possibly the most thrilling match of the day, McGuffin took the men’s singles championship over the 11th seed Hunter Johnson in a four-game thriller. McGuffin lost the first game, but then battled back to win three in a row, including an epic comeback in game four. That last game was easily the best game in the series and possibly the tournament, with extra pickleball needed for the Selkirk man to secure the dub, 12-10.
Johnson, who had to reschedule his flight because he didn’t think he would make it to Sunday’s action, played an incredible tournament earning his first PPA silver medal. While he is known to hit heavy shots, he also showed that he is more than capable of playing cat and mouse pickleball in singles. While this was his first championship Sunday appearance on the PPA tour, we expect him to play in many more in the future.
The number one women’s singles player in the world didn’t lose a game all tournament in singles, which culminated in winning the championship against Jansen. Waters dominated the first game, but then had to grind through games two and three. Game three was the closest with Jansen storming out to a 8-1 lead. A few minutes later it was knotted up at 8. However, mother nature interrupted this match with a rain delay.
An hour and a half later the match restarted with Waters winning the last few points she needed to get the W. Waters showed her mental fortitude by literally weathering the storm on her way to victory. From the start this bracket was coined as a battle for second, and Waters proved why Sunday.
That’s all for Ohio! Join us at the PPA Peachtree Classic Thursday (9/15) in Georgia.