Selkirk Labs Showdown Day 2 (Aug 6) Recap
It only makes sense for Selkirk-sponsored Tyson McGuffin to punch his way into the finals held on Sunday with his partner Ben Newell at the Selkirk Labs Showdown in Los Angeles. Here are the other players that will join that nasty duo for a chance to strike gold:
- Men’s doubles: Tyson McGuffin/Ben Newell vs Ben Johns/Jay Devilliers
- Women’s doubles: Anna Leigh Waters/Callie Smith vs Jessie Irvine/Lucy Kovalova
- Mixed doubles: Ben Johns/Jessie Irvine vs Matt Wright/Callie Smith
The matches Saturday were best 2 out of 3, single-elimination style, meaning no opportunity bracket! This format created an extreme sense of urgency for these newly appointed teams via the seeding round Friday.
Tyson McGuffin and Ben Newell got the fans going with spectacular fast-paced play, quick hands and best of all, chest bumps! The righty (McGuffin), lefty (Newell) combo proved especially lethal as both players had their powerful forehands in the middle ready to demolish any ball in sight.
Due to their high seed, they only needed 1 win to lock in their finals appearance. They played in an absolute thriller against fiery Matt Wright and Collin Johns winning 11-3, 2-11, 12-10. That final match came down to the narrowest of margins, ultimately won by a McGuffin-drive and Newell-finish.
Ben Johns and Jay Devilliers also launched themselves into the gold-medal match, beating Tyler Loong and Patrick Smith in the semi-finals 11-7, 11-7. Johns and the flying Frenchman were just too much to handle, creating heaps of opportunities with speedups and winning the majority of the hands battles.
Like McGuffin and Newell, Johns and Devilliers only had to win 1 match, as they too were the benefactors of a high seed. This partnership also gave viewers a first-hand look at how Johns plays on the right side of the court, as they elected not to stack. In typically John's fashion, he did not disappoint.
Daughter-on-mother crime came via Anna Leigh Waters as she beat her mom, Leigh Waters, only needing 2 games to do so. Normally the mother-daughter duo play together in tournaments. However, in this format, they were forced to play against each other, creating an epic showdown!
Anna Leigh Waters was paired with Callie Smith, while Leigh Waters was partnered with Catherine Parenteau. The world’s number 1 women’s singles player in Anna Leigh, showed that she may be deserving of the number 1 women’s doubles crown as well. She put on a clinic against her mom and Parenteau.
They will play Jessie Irvine/Lucy Kovalova, who barely escaped past Meghan Dizon and Lea Jansen. They won a tight one 10-12, 11-9, 11-8. Those matches couldn’t possibly get closer with 2 out of 3 being won by only 2 points! Irvine continued to show that she might be the most powerful women’s player in the world as she crushed drives and put-aways.
Expect this showdown Sunday to make a run for the best match of the tournament as both of these teams are hungry for victory and extremely evenly matched. Like the men’s teams, the women’s teams in the finals only needed one win to make it there.
Ben Johns does one for the little brothers out there, as he came out victorious against his older brother Collin Johns, 11-6, 5-11, 11-6. The younger Johns played with Irvine, which is a partnership we haven’t seen since the Tournament of Champions in 2019. Collin played with young phenom Anna Leigh Waters.
Talk about a chess match, this showing featured extremely high I.Q. pickleball, as all four of these players knew each other's game very well. Ben and Waters are regularly mixed doubles partners, while Ben and Collin are regular men’s doubles partners. Thus, it was extremely difficult for these players to win a point, producing amazing rallies and a variety of tactics.
Ben made it abundantly clear in his post-match interview that his older brother has yet to get a win off of him in a tournament!
Matt Wright/Callie Smith took care of business in the 2nd semi-finals bracket, propelling themselves to the championship match. Wright will get to play his former men’s doubles partner in Johns, before Johns elected to play with his older brother. The last time Wright and Johns played against each other was more than 2 months ago in men’s doubles, with Wright taking home the gold over Johns.
Johns will look to avenge that loss against Wright with Smith on his side. It was a little bizarre seeing Wright partnering with Smith, being that Wright always plays with Kovalova. However, the new partnership was fruitful as they beat Federico Staksrud/Allyce Jones. The once singles specialist, Staksrud, continues to show that his doubles game is improving to match his singles prowess.
Where to Watch
Championship Sunday will start at 10 a.m. PT on Selkirk TV, the Tennis Channel and the PPA livestreams. It will kick off with mixed doubles, then women’s doubles, leaving men’s doubles for the main event!