The Rematch is On and Anna Leigh Waters is going for a Triple - PPA Peachtree Classic Day 3 Recap
Red Sox vs Yankees. Ohio State vs Michigan. Lakers and Celtics. Riley Newman/Matt Wright, Ben and Collin Johns. The Mount Rushmore of sports rivalries, only one of which will be brought to you live on Sunday!
Yes, we’re talking about the highly anticipated rematch between Newman/Wright and the Johns brothers. In addition, Anna Leigh Waters and Leigh Waters will face Jessie Irvine and Anna Bright in the women’s doubles gold medal match, meaning Anna Leigh will be on triple crown watch.
Bronze medalist: JW Johnson/Dylan Frazier and Lucy Kovalova/Callie Smith
The last time these teams met, Newman was seen finger wagging, aggressively jarring at the Johns while paddle touching and getting the fans hyped with gestures toward the crowd. Newman and Wright took that match at the PPA Tournament of Champions and the one before it at the PPA Atlanta Open, making them 2-0 in their last two matches against the brothers.
However, while Newman was out throwing the first pitch at the Mariners game last weekend, the Johns brothers took gold in Ohio. So the question is, who is coming into Sunday’s match with more momentum and confidence? That will play a big role, especially early on in the finals. Here is how both teams got there.
Newman/Wright had the slightly more difficult path to the first place match, getting taken to three games by JW Johnson/Dylan Frazier in the quarter-finals and Tyler Loong/Spencer Smith in the semis. The match against Johnson/Frazier was the match of the day and it all came together in the third game for an absolute showdown. After splitting the first two games, including an 11-0 win by Johnson/Frazier, the third was extremely back and forth.
The final game was won 12-10 by Newman/Wright after being down 9-10. The eventual victors called a timeout before their opponents’ serve, and when the game resumed, they were able to get the critical sideout. In that same possession, they scored three points and got the victory. Then in the semi-finals they defeated Loong/Smith, after losing the first game 11-13.
The Johns brother’s got into the finals by getting wins over Casey Kay/Frank Solana, Chuck Taylor/Patrick Smith and last weekend’s silver medalists Tyson McGuffin/Jay Devillers. In the first match against McGuffin/Devilliers, both teams stuck to their gameplans, which produced a pretty conventional win by the siblings.
In the second game, Devilliers flipped a switch and came out ultra aggressive. McGuffin/Devilliers featured the Frenchman on the right of the formation, but also allowed him to to be the aggressor with his backhand in the middle. Unorthodox, but it produced some results and made the Johns a bit uneasy. However, the number one-seeded team eventually countered it and hung onto the dub, 11-9.
Johnson and Frazier walked away with bronzes after taking out Chuck Taylor and Patrick Smith in the third place match, 11-6, 11-2. Going into the tournament, a podium finish was definitely expected for this young duo, with a combined age of 40. After the tough loss to Newman/Wright, this team strung together four wins in the opportunity bracket, including the bronze medal match. Good result, but they’ll be looking back at their one loss thinking, “what if.”
This finals will be a rematch of last weekend’s semi-finals, with Irvine/Bright walking away with that one. That eventually led to Bright’s first PPA gold and Irvine’s first women’s doubles gold this year. Last weekend is last weekend, and the stakes will be much different seeing the Waters on the opposite side of the court on a Sunday opposed to a Saturday.
After cruising to victories in their first two matches, Irvine/Bright were tasked with their toughest match of the day in the semi-finals: Lucy Kovalova and Callie Smith. Irvine and the former California Bear handled business in the first game and seemed like they were headed in the right direction.
Wrong! The one seeds came out on fire in game two. They got the lead early and ran away with the victory 11-2. While that might have scrambled lesser teams, Irvine/Bright decided to keep Irvine on the left of their formation, opposed to Bright. Leaving Bright in the more “dominant” position has worked well for them in the past (and got them the gold last weekend), but they knew they needed to change things around for this one.
After getting a first round bye, the Waters needed just two wins to get into championship Sunday. They beat Irina Tereschenko/Parris Todd and three seeds Catherine Parenteau/Lea Jansen. Their only iffy string of play came during the first four points of their first game. Tereschenko and Todd entered that match with one win already under their belts, while the Waters came in fresh.
The mother-daughter duo immediately made four unforced errors in a row, which prompted a timeout. They came back and rattled off 11 of the next 12 points. With the wins today, Anna Leigh has gone three days without dropping a single game. If the 15-year-old can keep that streak alive on Sunday, it would be a historic result.
Filling out the podium was the number one seeds, who won a close one against Parenteau/Jansen, 11-9, 12-10. This too was a rematch of last weekend’s semi-finals, but with a different result. Despite the loss to Irvine/Bright earlier in the day, Kovalova and Smith showed their resolve by battling it out in the consolation bracket. Prior to the bronze match, they had an easy win against Tereschenko and Todd, 15-4.