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Top Mixed Doubles Seeds Clinch Championship Berth at 2023 PPA Desert Ridge Open

By Kyle Whatnall

on Feb 04, 2023

Third Seeded Anna Bright & Riley Newman Secured the Bronze Medal at Mixed Doubles Day of the 2023 PPA Desert Ridge Open. 

Top seeds prevailed today on Pro Mixed Doubles Day at the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) Tour Desert Ridge Open. The No. 1 and No. 2 seed clinched their spot in the Championship matchup this afternoon in beautiful pickleball conditions and from a stellar venue at the JW Marriot in Phoenix, Arizona. 

After a busy day of Mixed Doubles action, below is your Championship matchup slated for Sunday, February 5th: 

(1) Anna Leigh Waters & Ben Johns vs. (2) Lucy Kovalova & Matt Wright. 

Waters & Johns: 

Def. Grambeau & Forsythe 11-1, 11-0. 

Def. Dizon & Smith 0-0, 0-0 (By Withdrawal).

Def. Johnson & Johnson 11-8, 13-11. 

Def. Irvine & Koller 11-1, 11-3.

The top mixed doubles team in the world, Ben Johns & Anna Leigh Waters, put up a 4-0 record today to reserve their spot in yet another PPA Mixed Doubles Championship Sunday appearance. The duo cruised through their opening round before earning a bye through a second round withdrawal. They were pushed the most in their third round matchup when they took on the exciting sibling duo of JW & Jorja Johnson, where they were pushed to extra points in Game 2, eventually pulling off a 13-11 win. The top seed displayed their typical blend of power and patience to earn another Championship berth, and will be favored to bring home yet another PPA Championship later this weekend. 

"When we have a lot of energy and when we're all over the court, that benefits us," said Ben Johns. "That semifinal was a showing of maximum energy." 

 Kovalova & Wright:

Def. David & Loyd 11-3, 11-0. 

Def. Newman & Ignatowich 11-3, 9-11, 11-8. 

Def. Smith & Devilliers 7-11, 11-3, 11-7.

Def. Bright & Newman 10-12, 13-11, 11-9. 

 In contrast with the top seeded Waters & Johns, the path to a Championship matchup for Lucy Kovalova & Matt Wright was extremely hard fought. Wright & Kovalova came out on the winning end of two 3-Game matches today, securing narrow victories over Lindsey Newman & James Ignatowich as well as a very tough Quarterfinal victory over the always game Anna Bright and Riley Newman. Matt Wright, as he often does, had a standout day where his unbelievable hand-speed was on display throughout the day. As matches intensified, his confidence in his reflexes improved and his confidence to initiate offense from long dink rallies was evident. His partner in Lucy Kovalova proved reliable, consistent, and solid throughout. Securing the Championship slot is a massive result for Wright & Kovalova, who are a duo on and off the court. 

"Lucy's dinking in the last game was so good, and I thought that was a good pattern for us," said Matt Wright. "I'm always fighting myself out there wanting to speed up. My hands feel real fast right now so when they're feeling fast I like to speed up and initiate while Lucy grinds out the forehand dinks."

Kovalova and Wright will be considered significant underdogs when they take on Waters & Johns for all of the marbles and a PPA Championship on Sunday. 

The PPA Desert Ridge Open continues tomorrow from Phoenix with gender doubles play. Coverage of day 3 can be viewed on Tennis Channel, as well as the PPA Tour YouTube Channel, which begins coverage on multiple livestreams at 9:00am PT/12:00pm ET. 

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