Hometown Favorite Shows Out at the PPA n2grate DC Open
Mixed doubles: 🥇Anna Leigh Waters & Ben Johns 🥈Lucy Kovalova & Matt Wright 🥉Catherine Parenteau & Riley Newman
Men’s doubles: 🥇Ben Johns & Collin Johns 🥈Riley Newman & Matt Wright 🥉Callan Dawson & Tyler Loong
Women’s doubles: 🥇Lucy Kovalova & Callie Smith 🥈Anna Leigh Waters & Leigh Waters 🥉Catherine Parenteau & Lea Jansen
Men’s singles: 🥇Ben Johns 🥈Jay Devilliers 🥉Tyson McGuffin
Women’s singles: 🥇Anna Leigh Waters 🥈Catherine Parenteau 🥉Lea Jansen
Almost everything was right in the pickleball world, as all number one seeds won golds at the PPA n2grate DC Open. Why almost? Well…the mixed doubles, men’s singles and women’s singles finals were all best two out of three games, instead of the traditional three out of five. So in a way, fans felt robbed of some glorious additional pickleball play.
- Ben Johns picked up his fourth, triple crown of the year
- Anna Leigh Waters took two golds and a silver
- Jessie Irvine came up blank with Jay Devilliers and Irina Tereschenko
Waters/Johns and Lucy Kovalova/Matt Wright went prime time on CBS on Saturday, but this time it was for real! In August, CBS broadcasted high-profile pickleball on their network, but those were exhibition matches. This time, our finalists had to go through a 22-team bracket to make it to the big show. So we had a championship Saturday with this match and a championship Sunday with all other gold medal matches.
Waters/Johns took this match in straight games, beating the number two seeds, 11-5, 11-7. The winners, with a combined age of 38 years old, played flawlessly on national TV and showed that pickleball belongs up there with other sports. Kovalova and Wright figured some things out in this tournament, as they returned to the finals after four months without an appearance.
Rounding out the podium with a bronze was Catherine Parenteau and Riley Newman, who defeated Irvine/Devilliers, 3-11, 11-8, 11-2. This is now the second tournament, Irvine/Devilliers have failed to medal as a duo, after many thought they were making their way toward being considered an “elite” team in this division.
The homestate heroes Ben and Collin Johns handled business against Newman/Wright, 11-6, 14-12, 12-10. The Johns brothers are from Maryland and benefited immensely from a homestate crowd and atmosphere. With the win, they retook the throne as champs of men’s doubles, which previously belonged to Newman/Wright.
In order to get the dub, Ben was extremely aggressive with his third shot drive, but once he got to the kitchen, he played a very calculated and slow game. That slow style of play went for the older Johns brother too, who was a resetting and dinking machine. In the post-match interview, Collin noted that he spent a lot of time at the tournament venue, JTCC, as a young tennis player. He said he never expected to play pickleball at JTCC in those younger years.
The gold medal match was extremely tight, with the brothers narrowly winning games two and three. Newman/Wright had their chances to win, but couldn’t get those last few points. The three seeds in Callan Dawson/Tyler Loong, followed the trend and came in third place, beating Chuck Taylor and AJ Koller in three games.
Kovalova and Callie Smith are back on top of the women’s doubles division, which hasn’t happened since June at the PPA Orange County Cup. Their final match on Sunday against Anna Leigh Waters and Leigh Waters made it to CBS as well, but took place on CBS Sports Network. Kovalova and Smith came out with a simple gameplan, yet extremely hard to pull off: isolate Leigh Waters.
By limiting Daughter Waters' touches, Kovalova and Smith were able to win, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-4. Young Waters did her best to insert herself into the match, but was met with supreme resistance. Waters tried playing from both sides, poaching and mixing up her shots, but that wasn’t enough to derail the one seeds. Parenteau and Lea Jansen took the bronze on Friday against Irvine/Tereschenko.
Johns claimed his fourth triple crown of the year. Does it come with an asterisk attached to it because it wasn’t a best out of five match? Probably not, because of how dominant Johns was. In singles, he ousted the Frenchman Devilliers, 11-4, 11-1. Johns had everything working: his drive, his drops and his patented cat and mouse game.
As if his drive wasn’t fast enough, Johns seemed to add more velocity to it this tournament. It could have been the result of cold weather and a hard ball, or perhaps that mixed with a recent desire to add some speed to it. Regardless of the reason, that drive made a lethal appearance in the singles final.
Devilliers came out with his signature one-handed backhand, but had a tough time passing Johns at the non-volley line. Credit to Devilliers who played a phenomenal tournament with big wins against Kyle Lewis and Tyson McGuffin. After McGuffin lost to the Frenchman in the semi-finals, he went to the opportunity bracket and took the bronze medal against Alex Neumann.
Waters got her second gold medal of the tournament as she defeated Catherine Parenteau in two straight games. Waters has now improved to an unprecedented 12-1 gold medal matches in singles this year, with that one loss coming to recently signed Selkirk player, Parris Todd.
The women’s singles division on Thursday was also bizarre, given that both Waters and Parenteau only needed one win each to get themselves into the finals. That was due to the eventual gold and silver medalists benefiting from a first round bye because of the small division and a Megan Sheehan-Dizon withdrawal.
Jansen finished with bronze as she beat Josie Johanson in the third place match. While Rosie was unable to get on the podium, she did get a win off of Jansen in group play and showed a nice progression in her game. However, she’ll be a little disappointed not getting that last win against Jansen.