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By Kyle Whatnall

Johnson & Johnson Upset Top Seed on Mixed Doubles Day at PPA Arizona Grand Slam

Travis Rettenmaier (Project 002) & Lea Jansen were among new partnerships that made deep runs in today's Mixed Doubles action. 
 
Upsets have been the theme of this week's Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) Tour Arizona Grand Slam, and today's Mixed Doubles results included a slew of eyebrow-raising results. Championship Sunday already holds a unique lineup compared to the usual, and today's action adds a new element of curiosity and intrigue around mixed doubles strategy and what creates a successful partnership at the highest level. 
 
Below is your Mixed Doubles Championship matchup for Championship Sunday on February 19th: 
 
(8) Jorja & JW Johnson vs. (3) Anna Bright & Riley Newman.
 
Johnson & Johnson: 
 
Def. Castillo-Gargallo & Mead 11-7, 11-3. 
 
Def. Brascia & Patriquin 11-3, 10-12, 11-1. 
 
Def. Waters & Johns 4-11, 11-8, 11-9.
 
Def. David & Wilson 9-11, 11-5, 11-3. 
 
The popular and always exciting sibling duo of Jorja & JW Johnson took on the bracket today by storm. They got off to a solid start by winning their first match in straight games, but were tested and pushed to three games in all of their following matches. In a matchup that saw particular youth on both sides, Johnson & Johnson outlasted Maggie Brascia & Hayden Patriquin to earn a quarterfinal berth against the top seed in Anna Leigh Waters & Ben Johns. The siblings brought the heat against the seemingly unbeatable combination of Waters & Johns, taking risk and firefights that continued to pay off. Jorja Johnson in particular utilized excellent hands to hang with and often overwhelm Johns with great angles and big swings. The siblings then proceeded to stay solid in another tough three game match against the always game Vivienne David & Thomas Wilson to secure their spot in the finals. 
 
"Fast hands were key. We were patient for a lot of it, trying to find the right targets," said JW Johnson. 
 
Bright & Newman: 
 
Def. Ackerman & Burrows 11-5, 11-4.
 
Def. Buckner & Deakin 11-4, 11-2. 
 
Def. Stratman & Frazier 11-3, 11-5. 
 
Def. Fudge & Bar 11-2, 11-2. 
Anna Bright & Riley Newman have proven to be a force to be reckoned with thus far in 2023, and they have given themselves a great opportunity to secure their first PPA Championship together on Sunday. In such a deep field, it's a rather remarkable feat that Bright & Newman went through the day without dropping a single game to 11. In fact, their closest margin to losing a game was a comfortable 6 points. Throughout the day, they scored a total of 88 points and only conceded 27. Bright brought her patented firepower throughout the day whilst Newman utilized his usual reset and defensive prowess. Together, Bright & Newman have proven to be a tough puzzle to solve for opponents, and they'll be considered the favorites to win the title on Sunday. They officially punched their ticket to Sunday with a very dominant win over the 18th seeded Fudge & Bar. 
 
"It's great to play here, I actually had never beaten Dekel before," said Anna Bright. "We were able to neutralize the Erne, use smart strategies, and take care of business."
 
The PPA Tour Arizona Grand Slam continues tomorrow with gender doubles. Live stream coverage begins on the PPA Tour YouTube channel at 10:00am Mountain Time. 
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