Collin Shick Shocks the Pickleball World, Catherine Parenteau Upsets Anna Leigh Waters on Singles Day at PPA Florida Open
Shick to face Johns on men's side, Parenteau will take on common foe in Lea Jansen.
The Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) Tour moved from ice to fire this week after packing up from the snowy conditions of Lakeville, Minnesota, to kick off the following event on the calendar today from the warm weather of Holly Hill, Florida. Singles day action took place today at the largest PPA Tour event of 2023 thus far in terms of registrations in both the amateur and professional brackets. In a tough field and humid conditions, Team Selkirk's Catherine Parenteau and Collin Shick punched their singles tickets to Championship Sunday.
Below are your Championship Matchups for Singles:
Men's Singles Championship Matchup (Sunday, March 12th):
(31) Collin Shick vs. (1) Ben Johns.
Def. Hirsch 11-3, 11-1.
Def. Livornese Jr. 11-6, 9-11, 11-3.
Def. Heiden 11-2, 11-0.
Def. Stone 11-3, 11-2.
Def. Garrioette 11-6, 11-2.
Def. Arnold 4-11, 11-3, 11-1.
Def. Frazier 11-8, 7-11, 11-6.
Collin Shick played his first professional pickleball tournament today and shockingly pushed his way all the way to Championship Sunday, securing six upsets along the way and turning the heads of players and fans throughout the day. Perhaps one of the most unbelievable accomplishments in recent professional pickleball history, Shick showed world-class composure and poise in his first ever pro pickleball event, instantly making a name for himself with his tremendous court coverage and relentless power utilizing the Vanguard Power Air Invikta. Shick started off the day at 7:00am local time in a play-in qualifier bracket. Remarkably, his legs remained strong and his mind remained sharp through seven grueling matches, as he put together the most amazing streak of wins in recent pickleball history.
After a closely contested second round in the qualifying bracket against the second-seeded Livornese Jr., Shick won his third round match comfortably to enter the main draw, which he claims was his ultimate goal for the day. Shick then proceeded to beat some of the best in the sport, utilizing his skills as a current North Carolina State tennis standout to weave the ball around opponents and hit ridiculous angled passing shots, especially on his backhand side. Shick was up against a great in his semifinal matchup with Julian Arnold, where he put together an impressive run to win games two and three despite dropping game one. Shick then completed the seemingly impossible dream run in the Semifinal in another three-game thriller against the always game Dylan Frazier. Shick will look to complete the Cinderella story on Championship Sunday when he faces the World No.1 Ben Johns.
"I'm very tired, I was just happy to get through qualifiers. I'm just so happy to get here today," said Collin Shick. "The game plan is to rest up and get ready for Ben Johns."
Def. Bardauil 11-5, 11-4.
Def. Tardio 11-6, 11-6.
Def. Johnson 11-3, 4-11, 11-4
Def. Tellez 11-9, 11-8.
After his absence from the PPA Indoor National Championships a couple of weeks ago, Johns looked refreshed and at the top of his game today in the singles bracket. After winning his first two rounds comfortably, Johns took on a common foe for him in JW Johnson in the Quarterfinal. It was a game of runs as Johns came out hot but then fell to Johnson's hot streak of passing shots in game two. In game three, Johns made the necessary adjustments to slow the game down a bit and get the better of Johnson in cat-and-mouse points at the kitchen line.
In his Semifinal match, Johns took on Pablo Tellez, who has found great form recently in both singles and doubles. Tellez pushed John to his absolute limit and proved to be a tough test throughout. Tellez particularly presented challenges as a left-handed player who utilizes a lot of deception with the flick of his wrist, often wrong-footing Johns and capitalizing on high balls. Johns proved world-class again, however, slightly upping the pace of his serve and hitting his targets on passing shots to win the match in two closely-contested games. Johns will take on Collin Shick in Sunday's final. Due to Shick's fast rise to pickleball stardom today, it will be one of the most highly anticipated matchups in quite some time.
Women's Singles Championship Matchup (Sunday, March 12th):
(4) Catherine Parenteau vs. (2) Lea Jansen.
Def. Ignatowich 11-2, 11-2.
Def. Stratman 0-0, 0-0 (By Withdrawal)
Def. Waters 11-7, 11-9.
Catherine Parenteau displayed tremendous power and shape to her shots today to punch another Championship Sunday singles ticket after winning the PPA Indoor National Championships a couple of weeks ago in Minnesota. Parenteau kept her great form going today, playing some of the best singles pickleball that her career and the pickleball world has ever seen over the past month.
Parenteau came out of the gates firing today with a comfortable 11-2, 11-2 win in her opening round. After her opponent withdrew from the Quarterfinal, Parenteau took on the top seeded Anna Leigh Waters in the Semifinal. Despite being well behind in the head-to-head record with Waters, Parenteau was especially poised and determined to win today, and her game showed it. She got off to quick leads in both games against Waters, limiting herself to virtually no errors and timing her approaches to the kitchen line with expertise. Parenteau also utilized an impressive tennis slide on the hard court to track down fast-paced balls hit to the corners, and came up with several incredible passing shots from her back foot or with her momentum going backwards. She also capitalized on several serving mistakes from Waters, keeping her composure and hitting a beautiful forehand passing shot to book her spot on Championship Sunday, where she will have a great opportunity for back-to-back PPA Singles titles.
"I had to stay aggressive and be confident. Winning gold two weeks ago in Minnesota helped me today," said Catherine Parenteau. "I love this sport."
Def. Wright 11-0, 11-7.
Def. Jones 11-7, 11-9.
Def. Devidze 11-5, 3-11, 11-7.
Lea Jansen's usual firepower was on full display today as she worked through three matches against tough opponents to secure a Championship Sunday ticket as the second seed of the tournament. Jansen couldn't have gotten off to a better start today, defeating Etta Wright 11-0 in game one before outlasting her 11-7 in game two. Jansen then took on the scrappy Allyce Jones, whom she will be playing doubles with on Saturday. Jones chased down and returned a ton of tough shots, showing relentless defense heart throughout. Jansen proved too good, however, and earned her way to a Semifinal matchup against a familiar name for her in Salome Devidze.
Devidze, who is a singles specialist with a particular knack for baseline strokes, rallied to find a great streak of form and take game two comfortably. This forced a game three for all of the marbles, where Jansen proved best in high-pressure moments to secure the win 11-7 and book her spot on Championship Sunday where she will face Parenteau.
The PPA Tour Florida Open continues tomorrow from the Pictona in Holly Hill Florida, with Mixed Doubles action. Play will begin at 10:30am Eastern Time and can be viewed on the PPA Tour YouTube Channel. Eyes will be on the new partnership of Riley Newman & Parris Todd, whom will be entering the bracket as the second seed.