The sixth annual Beer City Open went down last weekend, hosting over 1,000 tournament participants and exciting pro main draws. This has quickly become one of our favorite events of the year, and yesterday’s Championship Sunday did not disappoint!
Among the many unforgettable moments, we need to start this recap by congratulating Jorja Johnson, who medaled in all three of her events! She took gold in women’s singles and in mixed doubles alongside her brother JW Johnson, and earned bronze in women’s doubles with Lauren Stratman.
Let’s take a look at each event from the weekend and break down some of our favorite moments from the tournament!
Men’s Singles – Jaume Martinez Vich vs. Connor Garnett
The men’s singles finals match saw two of the PPA’s rising stars: Connor Garnett and Jaume Martinez Vich. Both players made impressive runs through the main draw, with Martinez Vich not dropping a game until his semifinals match against Jay Devilliers, and Garnett taking down the 4-seed Dylan Frazier in a tight, 3-game semifinals match.
This match was explosive from start to finish. Jaume was all over the court, executing continual fast cross-court shots, while Connor Garnett took to the defensive in response, sticking to playing the deep ball with long drives and taking advantage of several lobs with well-placed smashes.
Connor went up by winning game one, 11-8, but Martinez Vich returned in game two to take a win of his own, 11-9. The third and final game felt equally close as the first two, but Connor managed to take a firm lead at the halfway point, 6-5, and stayed on top to the very end, winning 11-6 and claiming the gold medal.
“I think similar themes, slowing it down a little bit, getting the ball to dip, looking to come in – He’s so fast, and so you really gotta make sure you put the ball away. I think at 10-5 match point, I thought I had it, and he’s just there everywhere. So it’s just staying locked in, deep serves and deep returns, and getting those few deciding points.” Connor Garnett on earning Gold Medal in Men’s SinglesConnor Garnett on earning Gold Medal in Men’s Singles
Women’s Singles – Jorja Johnson vs. Tyra Black
Women’s singles felt like the most even matchup of the weekend. Both Tyra Black and Jorja Johnson had some incredible points in their finals match, going point-for-point all the way to the very end.
That was the theme for women’s singles for the Beer City Open, as we saw several matches push to a third game in the main draw, especially in the quarterfinals, where Johnson managed to defeat Irina Tereschenko (11-6, 4-11, 11-1) and Black won against Jessie Irvine (11-4, 7-11, 11-8). We had a feeling that the finals match was going to be close, and Black and Johnson put on a clinic!
Through most of the three games, Black seemed to be pushing an offensive, often stopped by either Jorja’s paddle or Black’s shoes – she slipped more than Jill Braverman in the MLP. Jokes aside, it was very back-and-forth between Johnson and Black all match long, with Black taking game one 11-9, Jorja taking game two 11-9, and then finally, Jorja taking the gold in game three, 12-10.
Men’s Doubles – Johnson/Frazier vs. Garnett/Hewett
One of the PPA Tour’s top men’s teams, Dylan Frazier and JW Johnson, earn themselves another gold medal after defeating Connor Garnett and Rafa Hewett. Johnson and Frazier went up 3-0 in game one and didn’t look back in their two-game match.
This game was all firefights at the kitchen; it truly felt like a 50/50 split between dink rallies and speed-ups. JW and Dylan proved their prowess in controlling the kitchen line while pushing their opponents back with long balls and speedups.
“We definitely like to get to the kitchen line and slow it up first, but then after that, it’s fair game. Any ball he wants to speed up, he has the green light always, and I’ll just be ready to counterattack. If I get a good look, I’m not afraid to speed up, because he’s always coming to the middle to clean it up too.”Dylan Frazier on playing with doubles partner, JW Johnson
Women’s Doubles – Kawamoto/Kawamoto vs. Schneeman/Black
In women’s doubles, we saw the Kawamoto twins, Jade and Jackie, take on Lacy Schneeman and Hurricane Tyra Black. As announcer Adam Stone put it during the match, this was a grindy one.
Schneeman and Black took game one, 11-8, and the Kawamotos took game two after being at two match points, 13-11. Game three was back-and-forth all game long, with both teams trading the lead throughout. After being down 7-9, the Kawamotos ended up battling it out to come out on top, 11-9, winning the gold.
“I think I just had to start being a little more aggressive and picking spots better. They were covering angles in the middle so well, I had to start going body and that seemed to work and set us up a little better. Just trusting Jade a little bit more to set us up, and it came together in the end.”Jackie Kawamoto on winning Women’s Doubles
Mixed Doubles – Frazier/Stratman vs. Johnson/Johnson
JW and Dylan took to the court again for mixed doubles, though this time on opposite sides of the court. JW partnered up with his sister, Jorja, who was riding high from her gold medal finish in women’s singles, and Frazier played with Lauren Stratman who he’s played with previously in the PPA.
It looked like Frazier and Stratman might run away with game one while leading at 9-6, but the Johnsons pushed the game to a third match point and won, 13-11. Game two was just as tight as game one, with Stratman and Frazier holding the lead for most of the game. The Johnsons went on a big run after being down 6-8, coming back to regain the lead and win the match, 11-9.
“I think everybody got a little antsy in the rain, so everybody came out firing. We really wanted to play, and I think they definitely matched the hands, and we’re just lucky to come away with that one in two (games).”Jorja Johnson on winning in Mixed Doubles
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