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Pacific Northwest Classic 2021

by JB Jones

Pacific Northwest Classic 2021

The Pacific Northwest Classic kicked off today in Bend, OR. This tournament hosts almost 800 players at Pine Nursery Park with overflow being played at Pickleball Zone, the neighboring indoor court facility. The brown on light brown color scheme for the courts at Pine Nursery is a unique look. Personally, I prefer the bright popping colors seen in other facilities. But the surrounding forests definitely compensate for the court choices and make this another gorgeous stop on the APP Tour.

The APP announced this week that coverage of this event would be bare bones. “Due to a family matter, Boxcar Productions is unable to be at the tournament to stream like originally planned.” We hope all is well and they can get back on the road for the New Jersey Open. Get out and play this weekend and catchup on the results with The Dink Newsletter. The reduced live coverage can be found on APP TV.

Women's Doubles

The APP tour stops continue to have smaller Women’s Pro fields, but it gives the chance for some of the up and coming players to shine and grab a medal. The Women’s Doubles bracket had only six teams participate with two that the casual fan would recognize. Michelle Esquivel and Lauren Stratman teamed up again in Oregon and blazed their trail through the other five teams. They went undefeated and will get to wear their medals around all day tomorrow as they won’t be in action again until Saturday in the Mixed Doubles event. 

The Silver medal went to Susannah Barr/Lee Whitwell, who I love to watch play. They are still just a small step behind Esquivel/Stratman. In the first meeting, they forced both games to 11-9, but fell 11-5,11-4 in the final. Meghan Hall/Annica Cooper landed on the third step of the podium. Cooper who had a good showing at the Beer City Open follows up with a medal at this stop. 

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Men's Doubles

Thursday will feature the Men’s Doubles bracket and what seems like 22 teams battling it out for Silver behind APP Superstars Jay Devilliers and JW Johnson. These two have dominated APP podiums separately and are teaming up for the first time. The rest of the field will be interesting to follow. It includes Steve Deakin/Spencer Smith, Dylan Frazier/Matt Chou, Austin Gridley/Shellton Jean-Baptiste, Brian Ashworth/Luka Crippen. 
 
Seeding will play a large part in this bracket. The rise of new players mixed with the return of veterans will make it difficult to justify starting seeds. The number 2 and 3 seeds will have the advantage of an easier path to the winners bracket final. This allows them to avoid the grind of the Loser’s bracket and a potential short route back to the Gold Medal Match. Here’s how I think it will happen:

🥇Jay Devilliers – JW Johnson

🥈Steve Deakin – Spencer Smith

🥉Dylan Frazier – Matt Chou

Storm's a Brewin'

Rain delays, epic storms, and monsoon-like conditions interrupted play today in Bend, OR. Games were halted after the Winner’s Bracket Final and moved indoors to the Pickleball Zone. In the Winner’s Bracket Final, the hosts for the event had a tremendous showing. Wes Gabrielsen/Erik Lange defeated JDev/JDub in the match despite losing game one and being down 6-9 in the second. The pair flipped the switch on the favorites by attacking at the body, which threw Devilliers and Johnson off their game. The match turned into a tagging competition and unforced errors allowed the hosts to win 5 straight points to win game two. Devilliers/Johnson had no answer in game three and lost the final game in shocking fashion 1-11. A great performance from the hosts and local favorites. Now a long wait as we move to the loser’s bracket to see who they will play for Gold.

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Bronze Medal Match

Frazier/Chou were sent to the Loser’s Bracket by Deakin/Smith earlier in the day but got redemption indoors. They won 15-9 to advance to the Bronze Medal Match against Devilliers/Johnson. In the Bronze Medal Round, Devilliers showed why he is almost more dangerous to see in the backdraw. JDev/JDub took the match 11-9,11-5 to advance to the Gold Medal round.

Gold Medal Match

Find your pickleball partner, sit down and watch this match. Then watch it again, then text them everyday “12-10”, 12 freaking 10. Pickleball is a momentum rich game and I’ve never seen a bigger swing than a reversal from a 10-1 lead being turned around on a single possession to 11 straight points and a 12-10 victory. SHEESH. 
 

The match was not over after that comeback, but Devilliers/Johnson clearly shined for the rest of the evening. They won 13, count’em, 13 unanswered points in the final game, including a streak of 3 straight bodyshots from Devilliers. Devilliers ended game one with an Erne, ended game two with a Bert and went straight Cookie Monster in game three. This completes yet another Double Dip for Devilliers on the APP Tour. 

Shout out to APPTV for the footage.
Two out of three ain’t bad for me. Congrats to all of the medalists and a great job by all battling the weather to get all of today’s matches played at the Pacific Northwest Classic 2021. 

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