by JB Jones
Don’t call it a comeback! But what an unbelievable comeback. After a 2nd round loss, Lea Jansen and JW Johnson won five straight matchups to advance to the gold medal round against Zane Navratil and Andrea Koop. The match seemed all but over after Navratil and Koop won the first game of the best of 3 and had a commanding lead in game two. Down 10-4 with their backs against the wall, Jansen and Johnson launched one of the most incredible comebacks that pickleball can offer (watch some of the action here). The pair battled through 5 championship points with nerves of steel and tied the game 10-10. Navratil and Koop finally answered taking the lead back 11-10 but the new found fire lit by Jansen and Johnson could not be put out. They won the game 13-11 to force a third game.
Navratil and Koop had a great start to game three going up 6-1 but from here on out it was all Jansen and Johnson. With an unstoppable offense akin to Peyton Manning and the ’06 Colts, J&J won point after point with powerful put aways and a highlight reel backhand Ernie.
They took game three 11-9 and secured the gold with a 15-9 win in the final game. The first gold for JW Johnson and the final piece to the Lea Jansen Triple Crown! An absolute dominant performance put on by Jansen all weekend and she will be leaving town with All Gold Everything.
With all of the talk on trying to figure out the best tournament format, this weekend was a solid vote for the backdraw argument. The gold medal winner in 3 of the 5 pro events came through the backdraw. This led to some incredible pickleball matches and kept the audience on the edge of their seats. One player that I’m assuming holds the opposite opinion is Navratil. He was on the unfortunate end of two of these comebacks, but not to worry. All he is missing is a trademark finishing move to incorporate at the end of matches. Maybe a pickleball take on Undertaker’s PileDrive or Hulk Hogan’s Third Shot Leg Drop is what he needs to lockdown that final point.
Here’s to a great tournament in Indy with all the exciting finishes you could possibly ask for. For all the results and latest news, subscribe to The Dink newsletter. Be sure to catch up on the results before next week because the Los Angeles Open is set to start on June 10. With a new mix of West Coast players involved, this tournament is likely to have just as many amazing moments.