We’ve got a weekend off from the PPA and APP, but that doesn’t mean that pro pickleball is off the table! Starting today, the sixth annual Beer City Open kicks off in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for an entire weekend of pro pickleball!
The Beer City Open was co-founded by Andrea Koop, a pro pickleball player who plays on the PPA and MLP and resides in the nearby town of Grand Haven, MI. Koop saw potential in hosting the Midwest’s premier pickleball event in her home state, and together with co-founder Paul Richards, hosted the first Beer City Open in 2018.
In 2018, the event felt monumental, with $12,500 in prize money and 400 participants. However, the tournament has grown exponentially each year, and this year, over 1,000 players will be playing for a $100,000 purse.
This tournament is special because Koop and Richards run it as a non-profit, meaning that all proceeds raised from the event go right back into the Belknap Enhancement fund. Belknap Park, where the tournament is hosted, has already seen over $100,000 in park improvements because of the Beer City Open and the Grand Rapids Pickleball Club.
Of course, Koop not only helps run the event, but she also plays in it. Let’s take a look at the top five seeds in each event so you know who to watch out for this weekend! Pro events will be broadcast live via the PPA Tour’s Youtube channel.
- Federico Staksrud
- Jay Devilliers
- Connor Garnett
- Dylan Frazier
- Pablo Tellez
Leading the pack in men’s singles is Federico Staksrud as the 1-seed. He’s proven himself to be one of the top singles players in the PPA, having already earned two gold medals this season. His most recent podium finish was a silver medal in doubles with Pablo Tellez at the PPA Denver Open.
The rest of the top five feel equally strong in men’s singles. Jay Devilliers and Connor Garnett were both team leaders in Season One of the MLP, with Garnett earning himself a championship win in the Super Finals. Dylan Frazier and Pablo Tellez are top-tier men’s doubles players, and both have been on the hunt for a gold medal in singles on the PPA Tour.
- Irina Tereschenko
- Judit Castillo
- Hurricane Tyra Black
- Jorja Johnson
- Ava Ignatowich
In women’s singles, it feels like a toss-up between the top two seeds. Irina Tereschenko is currently ranked number 4 overall in the PPA for women’s singles. Judit Castillo is easily this year’s rising star in singles, having earned a gold medal in the APP and a recent bronze medal at the PPA Denver Open.
For her first year in pro pickleball, Tyra Black has been killing it. Though she’s yet to hit Championship Sunday for the PPA, she recently took home gold at the Delray Beach Open.
Jorja Johnson was on fire at the end of MLP Season One alongside Vivienne David, and we’re excited to see how she manages in singles this weekend. Ava Ignatowich is a newcomer to the pro scene, and we’ll have to see how she competes this weekend; we’re always down for a Cinderella story in singles!
- JW Johnson and Jorja Johnson
- Zane Navratil and Jessie Irvine
- Dylan Frazier and Lauren Stratman
- Federico Staksrud and Irina Tereschenko
- Andrei Daescu and Andrea Koop
JW and Jorja Johnson are our favorites here, and we’d love to see the siblings take home another gold together this year. They took their first gold at the PPA Newport Beach Double Shootout against Tyson McGuffin and Lacy Schneeman.
The other two teams of this top five that we’d like to see in the finals would have to be Daescu/Koop and Frazier/Stratman. It would only be right for Koop to participate in the championship match at her own tournament, and with one of the best doubles players in the APP, Andrei Daescu, it feels more than feasible.
Dylan Frazier and Lauren Stratman have played together on the PPA Tour, earning a fifth-place finish at the Texas Open. Both players are strong in mixed doubles, and we think they have a good chance this weekend at making it to the finals.
- Andrea Koop and Jessie Irvine
- Lauren Stratman and Jorja Johnson
- Jade Kawamoto and Jackie Kawamoto
- Lacy Schneeman and Hurricane Tyra Black
- Irina Tereschenko and Rianna Valdes
Koop and Irvine proved themselves as strong leaders in women’s doubles during Season One of the MLP, with both of them playing alongside one of the Brascia sisters. Again, Koop might feel a sense of home-field advantage playing in her own tournament, and Irvine always brings high energy to the doubles court.
The Kawamoto sisters are also favorites here. The two take sibling chemistry to another level when playing doubles and will be playing together in MLP Season Two on the D.C. Pickleball Team.
Speaking of MLP, Jorja Johnson and Lauren Stratman also both got drafted to the Texas Ranchers for Season Two. This feels like a good opportunity for the duo to prove themselves as a force to be reckoned with when MLP starts back up in September!
- JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier
- Federico Staksrud and Pablo Tellez
- Jay Devilliers and Zane Navratil
- DJ Young and Callan Dawson
- Andrei Daescu and Rob Nunnery
JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier are one of the best men’s doubles teams in professional pickleball, plain and simple. If they break out the cow pants like they did at the PPA Atlanta Open, it’s all over for the competition.
Our next favorite has to be Federico Staksrud and Pablo Tellez, who recently earned a silver medal together at the PPA Denver Open. A Staksrud/Tellez versus Frazier/Johnson rematch from the Indoor National Championships would be a spectacle, to say the least.
The APP power team of Andrei Daescu and Rob Nunnery can’t be overlooked either. The two won back-to-back gold medals together at the Vlasic Classic and the New York City Open earlier this year; a gold here against some of the top PPA pro teams would be huge!
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