Devilliers Dominant As Anna Leigh Waters Continues her Undefeated Tournament In Day 2
Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns won every game they played in, as they punched themselves into the mixed doubles final on Sunday where they will play Jessie Irvine and Jay Devilliers in the PPA Baird Wealth Management Open.
- Waters continued her dominance not dropping a game in mixed and singles
- Number one seeds Lucy Kovolva and Matt Wright out of medal contention
- Tyson McGuffin didn’t compete in mixed after experiencing serious cramping Thursday
Waters and Devilliers, though on different teams, came out and absolutely dominated the mixed doubles action on Friday. Devilliers was possibly playing his best pickleball ever as he was the catalyst for him and Irvine beating the one seeds in the winner’s bracket semi-final. California-resident Irvine, did her part too by keeping balls un-attackable and using her power when those opportunities arose.
It also looked like Irvine and Devilliers took a similar strategy to the one Wright and Riley Newman have utilized against the Johns brothers, by frequently speeding the ball up. The Frenchman started his semi-final match in attack mode and kept that pace and energy up in a dominant win in the first game. However, the wizards of Wichita battled back in game two, making for a very tense game three.
Scroll through to see some of the highlights of the match:
On the other side of the bracket, Waters and Johns cruised to the semi-finals where they were met with heavy opposition in last tournaments’ silver medalists, AJ Koller and Callie Smith. In both games, Koller and Smith stormed out to an early lead with Koller instigating a lot of the action. Despite the big starts, Waters and Johns battled back in both games to eventually win them. After the match, Johns said he plays his best when he’s down, but certainly doesn’t prefer getting into that situation.
The former ice hockey player and Smith were then sent down to the opportunity bracket where they had to beat Catherine Parenteau and Collin Johns to make it into the fight for third. In that bronze match they lost to Koller’s cousin, Wilson and his partner Grechkina who both played stellar games. Wilson was running everywhere, tracking balls down, while Grechkina was threatening with dinks against Smith and backhand counters when she was sped up.
Grechkina was all smiles in the post-match interview proudly professing it was her first PPA medal. Not only that, but to do it at a grand slam against a very solid team in Koller and Smith after losing to them in the winner’s bracket, makes it even more special. Grechkina and Smith had an extremely tough road to the bronze match as they had to beat the one seeds in Kovalova and Wright. Once they did that, it really felt like it was going to be their day.
It has been about six months since we have seen Waters/Johns and Irvine/Devilliers meet in the finals, going all the way back to the PPA Riverland Open in March. Waters and Johns won that match in straight sets in an extremely dominant fashion. Waters/Johns are 3-0 this year vs Irvine/Devilliers in the finals and will once again be the favorites heading into Sunday. However, if Irvine and Devilliers can replicate their Friday magic it will certainly make for an entertaining match and possible upset.