Waters, Waters and Water
The inaugural PPA Orlando Cup was played this weekend at the USTA National Campus. For the first time in pickleball history, Championship Sunday was broadcasted live on the Tennis Channel. Two huge milestones for the game and for the PPA Tour.
The rain wreaked havoc on the tournament causing multiple delays throughout the event. There was no stopping the water falling from the sky, which was fitting because there was no stopping the Waters on the court either.
Anna-Leigh Waters (WS #1 – 6.496, WD #5 – 6.160) had the biggest weekend of her young career, taking the womens singles and doubles titles. With the help of her mom and partner, Leigh (WD #6 – 6.108), the Waters beat the number 1 and 2 seeds in the bracket. This gave AL two chances to hoist the newest and most shiny trophy in pickleball, the Orlando Cup.
Still waiting for the Monday morning picture of Cinnamon Toast Crunch being eaten from the cup.
New pairings in mixed doubles turned the bracket on its head. Dekel Bar (MD #8 – 6.537) & Vivienne David (WD #15 – 5.825) had a huge win over Ben Johns (MD #1 – 6.761) & Simone Jardim (WD #1 – 6.247) in the quarterfinals. Then, Jay Devilliers (MD #6 – 6.582) & Jesse Irvine (WD #7 – 6.016) took down Bar & David to advance to the final and eventually win the silver medal. Great to see new teams in the mix that should make the mixed doubles division even more exciting.
Riley Newman (MD #2 – 6.651) & Catherine Parenteau (WD #3 – 6.188) finally got their gold medal in mixed doubles. In each of the last two PPA’s, the pair finished third. An upset of Ben Johns & Simone Jardim in the quarterfinal was enough to open that door for Team Takeya. They won the final in four games, all of which were filled with highlights.
Ben Johns (MS #1 – 7.105) doing Ben Johns things. Gold in mens singles and doubles, without losing a game on the way. A great bounce back from the Tournament of Champions last month. However, rumor has it that he’s missing a couple of teeth after mimicking Rafael Nadal’s signature trophy bite.
AJ Koller (MD #18 – 6.425) & JW Johnson (MD #10 – 6.519) paired up and won silver in the mens doubles bracket. They beat Team NewGuffin in a nail-biter quarterfinal matchup and slid by Patrick Smith (MD #7 – 6.563) & Rob Nunnery (MD #19 – 6.423) in the semifinals. Hopefully we’ll see soon see this duo in action again.