It’s wild to think that last weekend’s Hertz Gold Cup, hosted in Daytona, Florida, was the last major event for the PPA Tour’s 2023 season before the PPA Finals at the end of the month! It’s been an incredible year for pro pickleball – we’ve witnessed its many ups and downs, but ultimately, it has seen a tremendous amount of growth alongside the sport’s rise in popularity.
Being the last event that awarded points for the PPA Tour Finals Race, the Hertz Gold Cup had the potential to be pivotal for many players on the cusp of qualifying for the Finals! However, due to many of the PPA’s top seeds once again finishing on the podium, we didn’t see much upward mobility in the rankings.
Nonetheless, it was still an exciting way of capping off 2023, making us that much more excited for the PPA Finals, which are taking place in San Clemente, California, from November 30 – December 3. Let’s take a look at which players did well in Daytona and what the results might mean for the PPA’s upcoming grand finale!
Women’s Singles – Salome Devidze vs. Lacy Schneeman
With Catherine Parenteau sitting this one out and Anna Leigh Waters withdrawing from singles, the field was wide open to seeing new faces on Championship Sunday! 5-seed Lacy Schneeman and 2-seed Salome Devidze met in the finals, where Devidze came out on top (11-8, 11-10)!
Devidze, who’s been the top-performing women’s singles player on the APP Tour, came into the PPA bracket this weekend as an underdog. However, she proved she could stand her own ground, defeating some of the PPA’s top pros on her way to the finals match. Notably, in the semis, she defeated 6-seed Lauren Stratman, who played incredibly well through the quarterfinals.
Schneemann also had arguably the best tournament of her singles career, making her debut on Championship Sunday! She took down 9-seed Taylor Garcia in the semis 2-0, pickling her in the first game (11-0, 11-9).
Women’s Doubles – Waters/Parenteau vs. Smith/Kovalova
While CP and ALW may have sat out of singles, they certainly showed up for doubles! In classic form, they didn’t drop a single game all tournament, including a 3-0 sweep of Callie Smith and Lucy Kovalova in the finals (11-7, 11-7, 11-4).
While they may have lost in the finals, Smith and Kovalova proved themselves as the next-best team on tour. They also didn’t drop a single game all tournament leading into the finals, despite facing some of our favorite teams, like Lea Jansen & Hurricane Tyra Black and Lacy Schneeman & Jade Kawamoto. We foresee a Smith/Kovalova vs. Waters/Parenteau rematch in the PPA Finals!
Men’s Singles – Ben Johns vs. Tyson McGuffin
Men’s singles was an absolute warzone last weekend! We saw so many of our favorite singles players impact the main draw’s landscape, which led to a thrilling 3-game match between Tyson McGuffin and Ben Johns.
Through the quarterfinals, Johns looked to be nearly untouchable as his opponents only put up 18 points against him across six games. However, 4-seed Connor Garnett dealt Johns his first game loss in game one of the semis, but Johns managed to tighten things back up and take games two and three (9-11, 11-7, 11-2).
McGuffin had an equally impressive tournament, not dropping a single game until the finals. He managed to defeat a few of our other favorites, including 14-seed Quang Duong and 6-seed Christian Alshon.
The finals match itself felt like a classic matchup between McGuffin and Johns, as the two went shot-for-shot through the first couple games, with Johns taking game one and McGuffin taking game two. In the tiebreaker game three, Johns once again pulled his lines together, defeating Tyson swiftly, 11-3, and taking home the gold.
Men’s Doubles – Frazier/Johnson vs. Alshon/Garnett
The dynamic duo of Dylan Frazier and JW Johnson came out on top in a deep, 32-team men’s doubles bracket. They ended up facing the 13-seed team of Connor Garnett and Christian Alshon, a new pairing of two of pro pickleball’s best up-and-coming stars.
Alshon and Garnett caught a big break on their side of the bracket, as Ben and Collin Johns were upset in the round of 16 by 16-seeds Jaume Martinez Vich and Wyatt Stone. They then went on to take down two big teams, that of 4-seeds Riley Newman & Dekel Bar and 5-seeds Tyson McGuffin & Brendon Long.
In the finals match, Frazier and Johnson went 3-0 against Garnett and Alshon (11-8, 11-9, 11-4), securing yet another gold medal for themselves in 2023! 8-seeds Tyler Loong and DJ Young went on to take home the bronze medal, defeating 3-seeds Matt Wright and Travis Rettenmaier 2-1 (6-11, 11-1, 12-10).
Of course, it wouldn’t be a PPA tournament if we didn’t see the classic photo op of “Ben Johns eats trophy, horrifying Anna Leigh Waters in the process.” In classic ALW and Johns fashion, the two made a clean sweep of their side of the bracket and then went on to defeat JW and Jorja Johnson in the finals, 3-1 (5-11, 13-11, 11-5, 11-5).
The Johnsons also made an impressive run through the main draw, only dropping one game to 2-seeds Jessie Irvine and Riley Newman in the semi-finals. Jorja and JW have had impressive seasons on their own, but the sibling duo have definitely played at the top of their game when playing alongside one another! We can’t wait to see what 2024 brings for Jorja, and we are excited to see JW play in the PPA Finals.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?