Dylan Frazier & JW Johnson Punch Another Championship Sunday Ticket, Johns Brothers Fall in Second Round On Gender Doubles Day at PPA Newport Beach Doubles Shootout
Today marked Day 2 of the PPA Newport Beach Doubles Shootout. After a long day of gender doubles action, our finalists for Championship Sunday bring some new matchups and partnerships to the table in what is sure to be one of the most memorable PPA Tour tournament conclusions in quite some time.
PPA Newport Beach Men's Doubles Championship (Sunday, April 23):
(2) Matt Wright & Riley Newman vs. (4) Dylan Frazier & JW Johnson.
(2) Matt Wright & Riley Newman:
Second seeded Matt Wright & Riley Newman returned to top form today after not playing together regularly to start the year, with each of them taking some time off from pickleball. They returned to dominant form today and looked to be the team that they've become known. Using the same style of play that earned them so many silver medals on the PPA Tour in 2022, Wright & Newman show ultimate patience at the kitchen line and lightning fast hands to put balls away up at the kitchen line. They absolutely cruised through the bracket today, winning all four matches in just two games each.
In the Quarterfinal, they took down the powerful and aggressive duo of Zane Navritil & DJ Young by a score of 11-6, 13-11. In the Semifinal, they continued their stellar play on the day by defeating the red hot Federico Staksrud & Pablo Tellez, who respectively had just come off of an upset over the all-Selkirk pairing of Tyson McGuffin & James Ignatowich. Wright & Newman proved to be most clutch in critical moments, and limited unforced errors to control the tempo of play and win the match in two games 11-7, 11-7. They punched their ticket to Championship Sunday, where they will be favored to bring home their first Championship of the year as a team.
(4) Dylan Frazier & JW Johnson:
On the other side of the bracket, the young duo of Dylan Frazier & JW Johnson proved to be the best team on the day. They ooze confidence and calm out there despite the energy of the crowd and pressure of high-caliber points. Frazier in particular has been proving himself as one amongst the elite at the very top of the professional pickleball hierarchy, securing several Championship Sunday appearances already in 2023 and finding particular success alongside JW. The young team combine to perhaps have the fastest hands on tour, and when they are on their game they have proven to be an unstoppable train to derail.
After comfortably handling a dangerous team in Erik Lange and Jay Devilliers in the Quarterfinal by a score of 11-6, 11-2, they advanced to the Semifinal and took on the surprise 24 seed of Garett Whitehead and Gabriel Tardio, who had just beat the team that shockingly bounced the top seeded Ben & Collin Johns in the second round. Dylan Frazier & JW Johnson put together another incredible and comfortable performance to dominate and secure the win, walking away with an 11-1, 11-3 scoreline, one that you don't see very often in the Semifinals of a PPA event. They will look to carry over their great form on Championship Sunday tomorrow when they take on the veteran duo of Matt Wright & Riley Newman.
PPA Newport Beach Women's Doubles Championship (Sunday, April 23):
(1) Lucy Kovalova & Callie Smith vs. (3) Andrea Koop & Anna Bright.
(1) Lucy Kovalova & Callie Smith:
Top seeded Lucy Kovalova & Callie Smith proved the number 1 next to their names in the bracket today, bringing a spectacular combination of power and finesse to their play and securing a much sought after Championship Sunday appearance. After a first round bye, they weathered the storm of Rachel Rettger & Ewa Radzikowska to win 11-9, 11-2. Next, they defeated a tough team in Meghan Dizon & Irina Tereschenko, overcoming yet another close first game to edge them out 11-9, 11-6. In the Semifinal, they faced the fifth seeded Lacy Schneemann & Lima Padegemaite, a dangerous team especially considering the form of Lacy Schneemann, who punched a ticket to the Mixed Doubles Championship yesterday alongside Tyson McGuffin and his signature Vanguard Power Air Invikta paddle.
By nullifying the power of Schneemann & Padegemaite, Kovalova & Smith slowed points down with long dink rallies and offensive dinking to get the better of exchanges and turn the tide in their favor, ultimately winning by a score of 11-3, 11-9. They will be favored to bring home the gold medal in tomorrow's final against Andrea Koop & Anna Bright.
(3) Andrea Koop & Anna Bright:
Third seeded Andrea Koop & Anna Bright made it look easy in their trip to the finals today, winning all matches in the two game minimum. It was a battle of new partnerships in the Semifinals as Koop & Bright defeated an exciting team in Yana Grechkina & Lauren Stratman 11-5, 11-6. Koop & Bright utilized excellent defense and unparalleled power throughout the day to dominate their opponents and punch their ticket to Championship Sunday.
The PPA Tour Newport Beach Doubles Shootout concludes tomorrow with Championship Sunday. In addition to the gender doubles matchups listed above, Tyson McGuffin & Lacy Schneemann will take on Jorja & JW Johnson in the Mixed Doubles final. The action can be viewed on the PPA YouTube Channel livestream, with coverage beginning at 10am PT.