Yesterday’s Championship Sunday for the PPA Acrytech Atlanta Open was the biggest pro pickleball finals event of the year so far. Hosted at the Life Time pickleball facility in Peachtree Corners, GA, the championship matches featured the best of the best, as over 1,400 players competed in the largest tournament in PPA Tour history.
The top PPA pros showed up, and we got to see many familiar faces take home the gold, including an amazing triple-crown performance from Anna Leigh Waters. Let’s take a closer look at the results of each event.
Mixed Doubles – Todd/Newman (6) vs. Waters/Johns (1)
The PPA meets the APP in the duo of Riley Newman and Parris Todd, as the two joined forces to take on the number 1 team in mixed doubles right now: Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns.
Parris Todd has been one of the best players on the APP Tour this year, having recently earned a triple crown at the US Open. Many people expected to see her in the finals in one of the events, and by partnering with the North Carolina Open men’s doubles champion, she was able to make that happen.
On their side of the bracket, Todd and Newman made their way through with confidence. They managed to take down the 2-seed favorite of Catherine Parenteau and Tyson McGuffin in the semifinals (8-11, 11-5, 11-1), setting themselves up to play against Johns and Waters who didn’t drop a game all tournament.
Todd and Newman played tough in game one, managing to even win the game, 11-8. However, in game two, Johns and Waters made some adjustments and returned to the court in the form we’re used to.
Johns and Waters took the next three games to claim yet another title together (8-11, 11-1, 11-6, 11-3). The two now have over 80 match wins together this year, making them one of the most successful mixed doubles teams in the league.
Men’s Singles – JW Johnson (5) vs. Connor Garnett (11)
Men’s singles was full of upsets from start to finish this weekend. With a huge bracket of 32 pro players, we were bound to see completely different results from what we’ve seen at previous PPA events this year.
Nine out of the top ten players were knocked out of the brackets going into Championship Sunday, including the number-1 seed Ben Johns who lost to 8-seed Christian Alshon in the quarter-finals. JW Johnson was able to clear his side of the bracket, including wins over Alshon, Jay Devilliers, and Collin Shick, leading him to the finals match.
The 11-seed Garnett had a tough lineup all the way to the finals match and crushed it. He managed to only drop one game on his way to the finals, and it was in a heated match against the 3-seed Tyson McGuffin (11-7, 10-12, 11-7).
In the finals, JW proved he’s more than just a doubles player (11-4, 7-11, 11-9). We’ve seen him recently win in both mixed doubles alongside his sister Jorja and in men’s doubles alongside Dylan Frazier at the PPA Newport Beach Doubles Shootout, and now Johnson has a gold medal of his own in men’s singles.
Women’s Doubles – Bright/Waters (1) vs. Johnson/David (7)
Anna Leigh Waters paired back up with Anna Bright, and they completely dominated all weekend long. On their side of the bracket, they had to take on several formidable teams, including the popular 4-seed team of APP superstar Parris Todd and Catherine Parenteau, Waters’ other women’s doubles partner.
The 7-seed team of Jorja Johnson and Vivienne David also held their own all weekend, taking down some incredible teams, including the 2-seed team of Callie Smith and Lucy Kovalova. Their battle against the Brascia sisters in the semifinals was one of the most entertaining to watch in the whole tournament (4-11, 11-0, 14-12).
In the finals match, Waters and Bright seemed to be a step ahead of their opponents throughout the entirety of all three games (11-4, 11-3, 11-5). In their post-match interview, Bright attributes their success to their ability to make good decisions while playing together.
“Making good decisions, I think that’s what separates the top pros from the mid-level pros. Everyone at this level can make 99/100 dinks, everyone has good hands. It’s just making the good decisions I would say.”Anna Bright
Men’s Doubles – Johns/Johns (1) vs. Newman/Wright (2)
The Johns brothers are back in business. After taking a break following the Newport Beach Shootout last month, Ben and Collin Johns made their return to the PPA with a bang by taking down the recent North Carolina Open champs, Matt Wright and Riley Newman.
The Johns Brothers flew through their side of the bracket quickly, taking down the 32-seed, 17-seed, and 9-seed before defeating the powerful duo of JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier who coasted through their first three matches undefeated. Newman and Wright shared similar success in their bracket, not dropping a single game until the finals.
In the finals, we saw similar results to the rivalry’s recent championship match at the PPA Austin Showdown: The Johns brothers win 3-0 (11-7, 11-7, 11-7). Newman and Wright kept it close in all three matches, but didn’t manage to take command of the match at any point.
The Johns have now won the past six gold medal matches against Newman and Wright, but every time they meet you know you’re in for a close match. Expect to see this rematch again soon on the PPA Tour.
Women’s Singles – Anna Leigh Waters (1) vs. Mary Brascia (6)
The final match of the weekend was between 1-seed Anna Leigh Waters and 6-seed Mary Brascia. Waters was on the hunt for a triple crown in this match, and Brasica had her best singles performance we’ve seen so far.
It was apparent from the beginning of the weekend that Waters was playing at the top of her game this tournament, not dropping a single game. She took down rising start, 9-seed Judit Castillo in the quarter-finals (11-6, 11-0) and went on to sweep 4-seed Catherine Parenteau in the semis (11-1, 11-0).
On the other side of the tournament, Brascia also was the best we’ve seen in singles all year long. She managed to take down 3-seed Salome Devidze in a decisive 2-game match (11-5, 11-4), and beat 2-seed Lea Jansen in an incredible 3-game semifinal match (12-10, 12-14, 11-6).
In the finals, Anna Leigh won the match in two games (11-5, 11-4), claiming her fourteenth triple crown of her career.
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