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By Stephen Bass

Major League Pickleball Kicks Off With An Exciting Day of Challenger League Pool Play

The highly anticipated first Major League Pickleball event of the year started yesterday, and did not disappoint its fanbase with a thrilling day of team-format pickleball. The MLP this year consists of a Premier and Challenger Leagues with the Premier League teams getting to draft first. Day One consisted of only the Challenger League teams playing, with the Premier Leagues starting pool play Friday (1/28).

By the end of the day 6 of the 12 teams were eliminated: The DC Pickleball Team, Texas Ranchers, Miami Pickleball Club, The Columbus PC, Arizona Drive, and the Dallas Pickleball Club. 

The 12 teams were divided into 3 pools. The teams play all other members of their pool, and the top two teams from each pool advanced.

Group A (DC Pickleball Team, Columbus PC, Bay Area Breakers, Utah Black Diamonds)

Many eyes were on Sam Querrey of the DC Pickleball Team, the first overall pick of the draft. Querrey had no pro pickleball experience at the time of being drafted, but was one of the top tennis players in the world throughout his tennis career. Querrey played about as expected holding his own despite his lack of experience. Querrey will hopefully improve as he gains more experience in pro pickleball. 

The Bay Area Breakers finished atop the pool without dropping a match on the day. The Utah Black Diamonds finished 2nd with a 2-1 record, and will advance to the knockout round.

 

 

 

The Columbus PC struggled throughout the day and failed to win a match going 0-3. The DC Pickleball Team and Columbus PC will not advance. 

Group B (Chicago Slice, Orlando PC, Miami PC, Texas Ranchers)

The Chicago Slice were led by their number one overall pick, Susannah Barr, who finished the day atop the Individual Leaderboard as the top player. The Slice went 3-0 on the day and earned the top overall seed for the knockout round.

The Orlando Squeeze will also advance after posting a 2-1 record on the day. The Ranchers (1-2) and the Miami PC (0-3) are eliminated. 

 

 


Group C (Atlanta Bouncers, AZ Drive, Brooklyn Aces, Dallas PC)

The ATL Bouncers won the pool going undefeated on the day (3-0) behind strong doubles and singles play. 

The remaining 3 teams all posted a 1-2 record forcing a tie breaker to be decided off of point differential. The Brooklyn Aces therefore will advance, and the AZ Drive and the Dallas PC are eliminated.

Tomorrow's Schedule:

The Chicago Slice and The Bay Area Breakers earned a bye tomorrow. The ATL Bouncers will face the Orlando Squeeze and the Utah Black Diamonds will face the Brooklyn Aces.

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