Selkirk Sport - We Are Pickleball


Waters & Parenteau Win in Four Games Secure PPA Desert Ridge Open Championship

By Kyle Whatnall

on Feb 05, 2023


On Championship Sunday of the Desert Ridge Open, the second stop of the 2023 Carvana Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) Tour calendar, Ben Johns & Anna Leigh Waters further separated themselves from the pack by winning triple crowns, securing gold in singles, gender doubles, and mixed. Meanwhile, Catherine Parenteau cemented a historic weekend for her already decorated professional pickleball career. 

Below are your Gold Medalits/Champions from today's Championship matches, which took place in excellent pickleball weather conditions from the beautiful JW Marriott facility in Phoenix, Arizona: 

Mixed Doubles: Anna Leigh Waters & Ben Johns. 

Women's Doubles: Anna Leigh Waters & Catherine Parenteau. 

Men's Doubles: Ben & Collin Johns. 

Women's Singles: Anna Leigh Waters. 

Men's Singles: Ben Johns. 

Desert Ridge Open Mixed Doubles Championship: 

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

11-2, 11-8, 11-9. 

Anna Leigh Waters & Ben Johns, both ranked #1 in the World, came out of the gates firing today in the mixed doubles final today, winning game one comfortably by a margin of 9 points. Despite having to prepare both mentally and physically for three Championship matches in a single day, Waters & Johns did not show any hesitation to get off to a great start against the world-class Kovalova & Wright. Anna Leigh utilized her typical firepower to overwhelm the 2 seed, forcing a few errors from her opponents along the way.

Johns became a massive presence in the match, especially as it went along into clutch moments of games two and three. He pinched over to the middle often to dictate kitchen dink rallies and initiate offense, combining well with the lightning hand speed of Waters to win the majority of reflex volley battles. Along the way, Waters & Johns reminded the pickleball world that they can be elite defensively as well, keeping rallies going from the baseline to work their way back into points patiently and methodically. Kovalova & Wright did well to go on a few point runs to make things close, especially in game 3, but ultimately fell to the firepower and consistency of the top-seeded duo. 

"This tournament last year was my first tournament with Ben, and we ended up winning mixed doubles and it was my first ever mixed doubles title", said Anna Leigh Waters. "I felt like I was channeling that same energy from last year into this year. I had a lot of fun with Ben today and we ended up coming away with the win."

  Desert Ridge Open Women's Doubles Championship: 

 (1) Anna Leigh Waters & Catherine Parenteau def. (4) Lea Jansen & Allyce Jones:

11-3, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7. 

Anna Leigh Waters secured her second Championship of the day alongside veteran partner Catherine Parenteau, who has had an excellent start to 2023 since signing with leading paddle brand Selkirk Sport. The big win came against an exciting new partnership in the form of Lea Jansen and Allyce Jones. In a first-ever Championship Sunday appearance for Jones, she utilized her patented court coverage and willingness to put her health on the line, diving for balls and battling through every single point as if it were her last. Nevertheless, Waters & Parenteau proved to be too too much, making a ton of shots and committing very few errors along the way. The only stretch of stress for the top seed came in game 2, when Lea Jansen strung together a series of offensive initiations and closes to level the game count at 1-1, and even see a few opportunities while tied 9-9 in game 3.  

Waters & Parenteau bounced back strong and showed tremendous poise in unbelievably long rallies, showing an impressive layer of grit and tenacity to complete a historic Championship for both of their careers. Parenteau has shown a tremendous run of recent success on top the already elite level of play she brings to every event. An extreme force in singles, gender doubles, and mixed, Parenteau has created a class of her own to reach multiple finals in such a stacked field, as well as to pair up alongside the World No. 1 Waters. The match today against the 4 seed was entertaining and enthralling throughout, and one fans will hope to see again in the future. 

"We knew Jansen and Jones were going to be steady because they played awesome yesterday," said Catherine Parenteau. "We had to make quite a few adjustments today but we stayed mentally tough fought hard. We are happy with gold." 

 Desert Ridge Open Men's Doubles Championship: 

(1) Ben & Collin Johns def. (2) Matt Wright & Riley Newman:

11-3, 12-10, 11-8. 

Brothers Ben & Collin Johns versus Matt Wright & Riley Newman has come to be a Championship rivalry that pickleball fans have come to hope for an enjoy over the past year or so. The Johns brother lead the series for this common Championship matchup, and made it look particularly easy today by defeating their foes in just three games. 

After the brothers jumped to a quick start by winning game 1 convincingly, Wright & Newman bounced back tremendously to force a dramatic game 2. Regardless, Johns & Johns pulled out a 12-10 win. In the final game, Wright & Newman made an interesting strategic adjustment by moving Riley Newman to the right side. The result created some especially speedy firefights and intriguing openings for the underdogs that they will perhaps consider for the next time they face the top men's doubles team on the planet. 

"It was looking pretty grim there in the second game, we made some sloppy errors and had to clean those up," said Collin Johns. "We kept battling and gave ourselves an opportunity to win."

 Desert Ridge Open Women's Singles Championship: 

(1) Anna Leigh Waters def. (2) Catherine Parenteau:

11-3, 4-11, 11-6.

It was a unique scenario for Anna Leigh Waters and Catherine Parenteau today, as they squared off in the women's singles Championship match just hours after winning the women's doubles title together as partners. The teammates-turned-opponents put on a three-game barn burner which featured ups and downs from both competitors. Waters had her game firing on all cylinders to kick off the match, controlling points from the baseline with powerful drives to correctly time her approaches to the net. In the second game, however, Catherine Parenteau found another level of pop from her Vanguard Power Air Invikta, forcing several errors from the No.1 seed to earn game 2 comfortably. Game 3 came down to execution, and the recently turned 16-year-old Anna Leigh Waters was particularly clutch down the stretch to handle the pressure and accomplish the Triple Crown. 

Parenteau was a tough customer throughout the match, and earned many new fans throughout the process. Waters has been particularly dominant in singles, and today was the first time since November of last year that she has been pushed to three games in a singles match. 

"Catherine played amazing, and it was tough to go from being partners to then playing against each other in a final," said Anna Leigh Waters. "I love her and I'm so glad that she got here so that we could have an amazing match."

 Desert Ridge Open Men's Singles Championship: 

(1) Ben Johns def. (3) Federico Staksrud: 

11-5, 4-11, 11-3. 

In yet another three-game thriller on the day, Ben Johns rallied in game 3 to secure a back-to-back triple crown performance over the game Federico Staksrud. Staksrud caught fire in game 2, driving passing shots through small openings to push the World No.1 to the brink. Johns did what he does best in the singles game, especially in the final game, by slowing down points with effective cross court drops and patient cat-and-mouse play from the kitchen line. 

Johns showed great fitness to overcome the fresh Staksrud despite it being his third Championship match of the day. 

"Fed came out aggressive and played really well in game 2," said Ben Johns. "I'm enjoying every minute of this, I love playing this game and I'm really excited for everything that is going well for pickleball."

 The 2023 PPA Tour calendar continues with the Carvana Arizona Grand Slam on February 16th from Mesa, Arizona. 

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