Saturday at a PPA event means gender doubles and that is a lot of pro pickleball to take in as a fan. Last year there were times where a PPA event would not be able to fill a round of 32 draw. Now we are seeing round of 64 draws as more players from around the country flock to pickleball to try and make it as a professional. It makes for intriguing storylines as we saw an up and comer like Augustus Ge yesterday make a run in a loaded mixed doubles field. However with so many powerhouse teams in gender doubles it is a bit tougher to break through to the top. Let’s see how the top seeds fared today in the desert.
Women’s Doubles Championship: (1) Waters/Parenteau vs (4) Wright/Dizon
This is the toughest top half of a women’s doubles draw I have seen in quite some time. Waters/Parenteau faced off against the #7 seeded Kawamoto sisters in the QF, who have given them some tough tests in the past and today was no different. After splitting the first two games, Jackie and Jade found themselves up 9-3 game 3. However, their inability to successfully unwind the stack allowed Parenteau/Waters to creep back in and they rode that momentum all the way to an 11-9 game 3 victory to extend their win streak to 58 in a row. Waiting for them in the semifinals was the team they faced in the Masters final Anna Bright and Rachel Rohrabacher but the scare from the Kawamoto sisters clearly caught the attention of the #1 seeds as they came in focused from the opening serve. They took care of business 11-3 and 11-9 to stamp their ticket to Championship Sunday.
On the other side a healthy Etta Wright paired with a rapidly improving Meghan Dizon is a combination that should see plenty of gold medal opportunities in 2024. They beat Koop/Pisnik 11-9, 11-4 in the QF and were able to erase a big deficit in game 3 to defeat the #2 seeds Callie Jo Smith and Lucy Kovalova in the SF. It will take a Herculean effort to take out Waters & Parenteau but maybe the Utah natives can take a page out of the Kawamoto playbook.
Men’s Doubles Championship: (1) Johns/Johns vs (5) McGuffin/Bar
It has been far from straightforward this week for Ben Johns and it looked like more of the same in the SF as he and his brother struggled to put away the #6 seeds Julian Arnold and Christian Alshon. Game 3 was back and forth but the Johns brothers were able to seal it 12-10 to advance to another Championship Sunday.
The bottom half of draw was the Wild West full of three game battles. Riley Newman and Thomas Wilson were the favorites coming into the day but fell to the #12 seeds Erik Lange and Zane Navratil in the QF after winning game 1. In the other QF James Ignatowich and Matt Wright jumped out to a big lead in game 3 before falling to Tyson McGuffin and Dekel Bar. In the SF it was smash mouth pickleball as both McGuffin/Bar and Navratil/Lange were speeding balls up at an extremely high clip. In the end McGuffin/Bar played more disciplined mistake free pickleball down the stretch to set up a date with the Johns brothers.
On the Horizon
Championship Sunday will feature Selkirk pros Mary Brascia in women’s singles, James Ignatowich in mixed doubles, and Catherine Parenteau in women’s doubles so make sure to tune into PickleballTV starting at 11am MST to catch what should be five incredible championship matches.