Top 3 Men's Players Fall and Anna Leigh Waters Continues Her Dominance on Day 1 at the PPA Peachtree Classic
Championship Sunday is set for singles at the PPA Peachtree Classic with JW Johnson playing Julian Arnold and Anna Leigh Waters competing against Callie Smith. In some hard fought opportunity bracket matches, Ben Johns and Anna Bright took the bronzes.
- Top 3 seeds in men’s singles lost in the winner’s bracket
- Anna Leigh Waters cruised to another championship Sunday
- 41 seed Christian Alshon took fourth in men’s
Major upsets struck this 53-player division like a bolt of lightning, with the top three seeds going down in the winner’s bracket: Tyson McGuffin, Ben Johns and Jay Devilliers, respectively. McGuffin lost in his second match of the day to Spanish-born Alvaro Terron.
After losing the first match 0-11, Terron made a conscious effort in making the world's number one player work harder and guess more. That amongst some other strategic adjustments allowed the former division II college tennis player to pick up the dub.
Unfortunately for the 17th seed, his day came to an end against Dylan Frazier due to some cramping. He lost to Frazier in two games and had to withdraw before he got started in the opportunity bracket. He hopes to make a full recovery in time for mixed doubles on Friday.
Julian Arnold then took care of the number two seed in the semi-finals, Johns, in two games. Arnold played a very risky cat and mouse game versus the 23-year-old, who usually thrives in that type of match.
Rounding out the upsets was the Frenchman, Devilliers’ losses to 11th seed Arnold in the winner’s bracket and 41st seed Christian Alshon in the backdraw. Alshon, in his second pro tournament ever, made it all the way to the bronze medal match, where he lost to Johns.
The upsets on Thursday just go to show how far pickleball and especially men’s singles has elevated in the last year or so. Long gone are the days of one person winning consecutive tournaments. While it’s still possible, it is now few and far between.
Johnson, who entered the day seeded fourth, was able to avoid the upsets and get himself into the championship. This will be the first time that Johnson and Arnold will meet in the finals, making for an exciting and unpredictable matchup. While Johnson will come into the match as the favorite, Arnold will have an ace in his back pocket: his energy and aggression. If he can get Johnson a little frazzled by yelling “adiamo,” it could be anyone's match.
Different tournament, same result, with Waters punching her way into championship Sunday. They say in football, that on any given gameday, any team could win. However, this doesn’t quite apply to the 15-year-old phenom, who has won all but one gold medal in singles in tournaments she has entered this year.
Waters once again went undefeated in singles on Thursday, giving up only 11 combined points in six matches! Waters hasn’t dropped a game in singles since June, where she lost to Parris Todd in a five-game thriller in the finals. That has been her only loss this year.
Speaking of Todd, the California-native and former professional tennis player was hoping to give singles a go this tournament, but decided not to compete at the last minute. Todd injured herself in the MLP Newport Beach event in early August, and hasn’t played in singles since. She is still expected to play in mixed and women’s doubles this tournament.
Waters will go up against Callie Smith, who beat former Georgian tennis player Salome Devidze in the semi-finals. Waters and Smith haven’t met in the finals since February at the Ororo PPA National Championships, with the youngster taking that one. Sunday’s task will be a massive challenge for the Utah-native, but with some grit and an impenetrable winning attitude, anything is possible.
Rounding out the podium was Bright who defeated Mary Brascia in the bronze medal match in two games. Bright, who benefited from a Lea Jansen-withdrawal in the winner’s bracket, lost to Waters in the semi-finals. She was then sent down to the consolation bracket, where she had a key win against number two-seeded Catherine Parenteau, 15-11. This win was a huge win for Bright in terms of getting another PPA medal and getting a win off Brascia, who has given her fits in recent medal matches.