Not One...But Two Triple Crown Winners at the PPA Hertz National Championships
Men’s doubles: 🥇Ben Johns & Collin Johns 🥈Riley Newman & Matt Wright 🥉Tyson McGuffin & Jay Devilliers
Women’s doubles: 🥇Anna Leigh Waters & Catherine Parenteau 🥈Lea Jansen & Jackie Kawamoto 🥉Lucy Kovalova & Callie Smith
Mixed doubles: 🥇Anna Leigh Waters & Ben Johns 🥈Catherine Parenteau & Riley Newman 🥉Anna Bright & Tyler Loong
Men’s singles: 🥇Ben Johns 🥈Ryan Sherry 🥉Tyson McGuffin
Women’s singles: 🥇Anna Leigh Waters 🥈Salome Devidze🥉Lea Jansen
DOUBLE-TRIPLE ALERT🚨at the PPA Hertz National Championship!
For only the second time this year, the coveted and scarce double-triple was accomplished by Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns in the PPA’s last traditional tournament of the year. That means that Waters and Johns both won triple crowns (three gold medals in one tournament) over the weekend in Orlando. There must have been some magic in the air!
Ben Johns got his championship Sunday underway with a gold, as he and his brother Collin took down Riley Newman and Matt Wright in straight games, 14-12, 11-5, 11-7. With the victory the Johns brothers ended their 2022 campaign with 10 PPA men’s doubles championships as a duo and beat their rivals Newman/Wright in seven out of 11 times they faced in the finals.
The Johns brothers once again did a magnificent job at slowing the game down with resets and dinks, making it extremely difficult for their more aggressive counterparts to speed the ball up. During bracket-play, this division was dominated by the top four-seeded teams, with all of them making it to the semi-finals.
While the fourth seeds Tyson McGuffin/Jay Devilliers lost to the Johns, they came back in the opportunity bracket to win bronze against the third-seeded team: AJ Koller/Tyler Loong. While Koller/Loong came up short of the podium, their overall play and chemistry made fans wonder if they will reunite in 2023.
Anna Leigh Waters, proved that even with a new partner, she is still the number one women’s doubles player on tour. Leigh Waters, Anna Leigh’s mom, recently revealed that she tore her ACL a few weekends ago and announced she would be out the remainder of 2022 and all of 2023. With that devastating news, Daughter Waters teamed up with Catherine Parenteau. They beat Lea Jansen and Jackie Kawamoto in the finals 2-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-6.
As the score suggests, Waters and Parenteau started out cold, tight and imbalanced. There was major confusion in the middle, which resulted in lost rallies and points. That all changed in game two, when the two-seeded team came out absolutely on fire. They flipped a switch and the rest was history. Now the question is, with Leigh Waters out, is this pairing going to be a staple in 2023?
Despite the loss, Kawamoto appeared in her first PPA championship Sunday event and took home her first-ever PPA silver medal. To get into the finals, this sixth-seeded team beat the number one seeds: Lucy Kovalova and Callie Smith. That forced Kovalova/Smith into the backdraw where they triumphed over Irina Tereschenko/Parris Todd for the bronze.
In the third event on championship Sunday, Waters and Johns picked up their second gold medals of the day against Parenteau/Newman. Waters, who was recently named in the Forbes 30 under 30 sports edition, showed that her number one ranking in PPA mixed doubles is well deserved. Waters’ plays an extremely fluid style of pickleball, which allows her and Johns to switch sides during points when poaching.
Their chemistry and skills are unmatched in this division, giving them a clear advantage every time they step on the court. With the win, Waters earned her 13th PPA mixed doubles title this year and Johns got his 12th.
Rounding out the podium was Anna Bright and Tyler Loong, who have continued to improve as the year has gone on. They defeated Kawamoto and James Ignatowich in the bronze medal match 7-11, 11-3, 11-5. Missing from the medal stand was possibly the most exciting team in this division: Selkirk-sponsored duo Todd and McGuffin. This team was electric throughout the tournament, but were ultimately ousted in the consolation bracket to Kawamoto/Ignatowich.
The number one men’s pickleball player in the world obtained his 5th triple crown of the year with a victory over Ryan Sherry in singles, 11-1, 11-3. Everything was working for the 23-year-old: his serves, drives and patented cat and mouse game. With the dub, Johns took home his eighth PPA singles title of the year.
While the Sherbear didn’t get the gold, his performances on Thursday to get into the finals were masterful. In that run, the 39-year-old took down McGuffin in the semi-finals 11-6, 11-7. To top that off, he gave the best post-match interview of the tournament and closely rivaled his other one after he won a gold at the PPA North Carolina Open in May.
The loss to Sherry did not demoralize McGuffin one bit, as he regrouped and won the bronze against his men’s doubles partner, Devilliers. McGuffin also took down rising pickleball star and fellow Selkirk player Austin Tchikatilov, who went on to take 5th/6th place. Tchikatilov, 23, took a triple crown earlier this year at the APP Next Gen in Dallas and will surely make some noise next year in more pro events.
The 15-year-old phenom took her seventh PPA triple crown of the year, after beating former professional tennis player Salome Devidze in straight games. The youngest athlete on the Forbes 30 under 30 article by seven years, battled through extreme exhaustion to get the dub. With the win, Waters finished her year with 14 singles titles. The young star noted after the match that playing tired may have worked in her favor, as it allowed her to play without thinking.
Lea Jansen left with the bronze over Tereschenko, needing the third game to get it done 11-2, 2-11, 11-0. It should be noted that Todd and Bright were missing from this bracket, which probably allowed most of these ladies to breathe a little easier during this event. Yana Grechkina had another very solid singles performance, finishing in 5th/6th place. There will surely be more to come from all of these ladies next year.