PPA Selkirk Labs Showdown Culminates With Exhilarating Championship Sunday
Championship Sunday at the Selkirk Labs Showdown is exactly what fans dreamed of when Selkirk announced this unique format, delivering all the hype imaginable!
Ben Johns showed that despite his 2-month layoff, he is still the king of pickleball, taking home 2 gold medals. Here are the other top pros that got on the podium:
Mixed doubles: 🥇Ben Johns & Jessie Irvine 🥈Matt Wright & Callie Smith
Women’s doubles: 🥇Anna Leigh Waters & Callie Smith 🥈Jessie Irvine & Lucky Kovalova
Men’s doubles: 🥇Ben Johns & Jay Devilliers 🥈Tyson McGuffin & Ben Newell
Selkirk saved the best event for last and it provided fans with fireworks the 4th of July couldn’t even replicate! Ben Johns/Jay Devilliers vs Tyson McGuffin/Ben Newell featured big 3rd shot drives, constant speed-ups and epic hands battles!
Johns and Devilliers, in their maiden tournament, came out victorious against McGuffin and Newell 11-9, 11-5. Initially not stacking, the eventual champs found themselves with an early deficit in game 1, triggering the stack with Johns’ forehand in the middle. That tactical change proved to be the difference in the match.
McGuffin and Newell, the righty-lefty duo, brought the fireworks, barks and theatrics, but lost their momentum when their opponents mounted their game-1 comeback. McGuffin, using the Selkirk Labs Project 002, kept the fans entertained throughout with his aggressive style of play. I think I can speak for all fans here in saying we want more McGuffin and Newell in the future!!
Anna Leigh Waters proved that she can dominate the game regardless of her partner, as she and Callie Smith defeated hometown-resident Jessie Irvine and Lucy Kovolova in straight games 11-7, 11-6. Playing alongside Waters gave Smith the absolute freedom to play aggressively with a safety net/brick wall backing up any of her mistakes. Smith plays best when she can stay aggressive and constantly threaten her opponents with attacks.
Smith also had the opportunity to play against her regular women’s partner: Kovalova. While Smith took the win off Kovalova, she probably withheld giving up all the tips and tricks to Waters, on how to beat Kovalova.
Johns and Irvine, a partnership we’ve only seen once before, showed they can compete with any team in the world, beating Matt Wright and Smith in the finals 11-9, 5-11, 11-7. Our gold medalists last teamed up in 2019 at the Tournament of Champions, with that chemistry seeming to carry over, being the difference in this match.
Wright and Smith played a high-risk, high-reward game, always threatening their opponents with speeds-ups from the non-volley line. When it was working well, they were able to steal game 2. Ultimately that style proved to be too inconsistent to win the match.
Johns and Wright are in the midst of an epic rivalry, where they always seem to be meeting each other in the finals. Sunday proved that even with different partners, these men can still get themselves into the gold-medal match, with the help of their partners, of course. Johns’ win on Sunday gives him the upper hand in this rivalry, getting revenge on Wright, who had the last win more than 2 months ago.
Thanks Selkirk Labs for putting on an epic showdown! The unique format and new partnerships and matchups was everything we hoped for! Hopefully we see more of these new partnerships in the future!