Catherine Parenteau to Contend for Third Straight Singles Title vs. Anna Leigh Waters at PPA Austin Showdown
Top 2 seeds Parenteau & Waters to face in women's singles final, Ben Johns & Federico Staksrud to content for title on men's side.
The Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) Tour continued today with one of its marquee events: The PPA Austin Showdown, held at the Elevation Athletic Club in Lakeway. Singles bracket play was slightly delayed this morning due to some rain in the area, but the action was worth the wait as the top pickleball players in the world took the court and battled it out. After battling through tough brackets, your bronze medal winners in the singles division are Allyce Jones and Christian Alshon.
Below are your Championship Sunday Matchups (finalists) for Singles:
Women's Singles Championship Matchup (Sunday, March 19th):
(1) Anna Leigh Waters vs. (2) Catherine Parenteau.
Anna Leigh Waters:
Def. Mayorga-Perry 11-3, 11-7.
Def. Smith 11-1, 11-2.
Def. Devidze 11-6, 11-9.
Anna Leigh Waters returned to the singles court with a vengeance after falling to Catherine Parenteau in bracket play and missing out on a spot in Championship Sunday last week at the PPA Florida Open. In fact, Waters had a near flawless day today, not dropping a single game throughout her journey to the finals and winning the majority of games with a comfortable margin.
After a hot start in the first round with a win over Mayorga-Perry, Waters kept her foot on the gas pedal to blast through Callie Smith in the second round, only dropping three points in the match. Waters then took on the always tough Salome Devidze, a singles specialist who particularly enjoys crafting points from the baseline. Waters still overpowered Devidze, however, especially by thumping her two-handed backhand at sharp angles and approaching the net with ease. Waters was then successful holding her position at the kitchen line to close out points with put-away volleys and deceptive drop shots. Waters will be particularly motivated heading into a Championship opportunity against Parenteau as she will seek to score revenge against the competitor that knocked her out of the previous PPA tournament in singles.
Def. Hsieh 11-6, 11-6.
Def. Buckner 11-3, 9-11, 11-4.
Def. Jones 11-2, 11-1.
Catherine Parenteau kept her confidence and form heading into today's PPA Austin Showdown, as her composure and tenacity proved to be too much for opponents to handle once again today. Parenteau showed she was human with a few errors in her second round match against Brooke Buckner, even dropping a close game two, but then rebounded beautifully to secure the match 11-4 in the third game.
Parenteau then faced the 11 seed in the bracket, Allyce Jones, who has been showing rapid improvement to her singles game. Jones is notorious on the pro tour for her heart, relentless effort, and competitive spirit. Parenteau proved too world-class, however, finding her now expected and always-impressive power and topspin from her Selkirk Vanguard Power Air Invikta paddle to get herself ahead in rallies. Parenteau combines her tremendous placement with amazing court coverage, often sliding into shots and running down balls to continue rallies and force errors from her opponent. She dominantly handled the semifinal with an 11-2, 11-1 win to punch her ticket to Championship Sunday. Parenteau is coming off of back-to-back PPA singles titles, and her matchup with the top seeded Waters on Sunday will be one of the most anticipated singles matches for quite some time on tour as fans wonder if Parenteau will be able to secure back-to-back wins over the top seed.
"I feel pretty good about my game right now, I'm going to keep working and see what happens," said Catherine Parenteau. "I think it's going to be a really fun match and I look forward to playing against AL."
Men's Singles Championship Matchup (Sunday, March 19th):
(1) Ben Johns vs. (2) Federico Staksrud.
Def. Legarreta 11-3, 11-3.
Def. Montoya 11-7, 11-9.
Def. Martinez Vich 11-9, 11-3.
Def. Alshon 11-9, 11-4.
Ben Johns returned to action today after winning the PPA Florida Open Triple Crown last week, and picked up right where he left off by winning four matches today as the top seed and cementing his place for yet another Championship Sunday appointment. Johns worked his way through the PPA Austin Showdown bracket today without dropping a single game, and he improved especially clutch to win three games with an 11-9 scoreline throughout the day.
After handling his first three rounds relatively comfortably, Johns took on Christian Alshon, who seemed to find his best form of the year today. Johns utilized his soft game particularly well in this match to slow the roll of Alshon, incorporating drops and remaining nearly error-free throughout the match. Alshon had put together a nice streak on the day, taking down the red hot Collin Shick in the first round and stringing together an impressive stretch of wins before facing Johns. He would then rally to win the bronze medal.
Def. Irizarry 11-2, 11-6.
Def. Tellez 11-4, 11-5.
Def. Stone 11-0, 11-2.
Def. Garnett 11-7, 11-7.
Federico Staksrud returned to the form in which he began 2023, slicing through the competition today as the second seed and not dropping a single game on the day. Staksrud won singles gold at the first three events of 2023, but fell short of Championship appearances in the past two PPA events. He found the perfect blend of physical performance and mental toughness today to play some of his best singles pickleball to date and set up a highly anticipated match in the finals against the top seeded Johns.
Staksrud found particular form in the Semifinal match against the athletic Connor Garnett. Staksrud hit his targets and found excellent passing shots throughout the match, halting Garnett's momentum with relentless pace on his ground strokes and stretching to cut off passing shots regularly. Staksrud will look to return to his Championship ways by upsetting Ben Johns in Sunday's final.
"If you don't bring your 100%, you're not going to succeed, and that's what happened to me the last two tournaments," said Federico Staksrud. "Ben is a good player but he's even better in finals, so I need to play every point like it's the last one and see what happens."
The PPA Austin Showdown continues tomorrow from Lakeway, Texas with mixed doubles action. Livestream coverage will begin at 10am CT on the PPA Tour YouTube Channel.