The PPA Tournament of Champions Day 1 (Pro Singles) Recap & Highlights
Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters went undefeated on Friday at the Tournament of Champions in singles, launching themselves into championship Saturday. They will play against Dylan Frazier and Lea Jansen respectively, who are both looking for their 1st singles gold medals this year.
Johns made quick work of his singles run, not dropping a game en route to sending himself to the singles final. His closest game came via Federico Staksrud, who scored 9 on Johns in their 2nd game. However, Staksrud's incredible forehand and quick feet weren’t enough to beat the world’s number 2-ranked men’s singles player.
Other than the Staksrud match, Johns looked significantly better than his competition, often appearing bored during his matches. He kept his matches playful, trying out new shots and laughing along the way. That will most likely change in the finals against Frazier, as Fraizer will come in hungry and motivated.
Like Johns, Frazier made his path to the gold medal match look relatively easy, with his toughest match coming via Hunter Johnson. Frazier was taken to 3 games by Johnson, but won the last 2 games pretty handily. He then played rising star, James Ignatowich, in the semi-finals where he won 12-10, 11-5.
Johnson’s run wasn’t over after the Frazier defeat, as he battled back in the opportunity bracket to take bronze against Frechman, Jay Devilliers. Johnson’s last medal came about 2 months ago at the APP So Cal Classic, where he took silver in singles. Now he has some PPA hardware to accompany that. Johnson also had a massive win against number 1-ranked Tyson McGuffin, making it the biggest upset of the day.
Waters continued to show she is virtually untouchable in singles, crushing her opponents in bracket play. After a 1st-round bye, Waters needed just 2 wins to propel herself into the finals. The most points she gave up was to Irina Tereschenko, who was only able to score 4 points on the 15-year-old phenom.
Waters will play Jansen in the finals, making it the 3rd time these ladies will have squared off in a gold medal match this year. While Waters has taken both victories so far, Jansen will look to add something to her repertoire to make Waters a little more uncomfortable when they play.
A little controversy struck the bronze medal match with Tereschenko getting upset with some of Devidze’s line calls, with both ladies even arguing between points about it. However, Tereschenko battled through the adversity to win in straight games.
Callie Smith and Anna Bright, ranked 4 and 6 respectively, withdrew from the event before matches began. At the time of writing, both women were still on track to compete in other events in the tournament.