Last weekend’s PPA Tour stop in Mesa, AZ proved to be a huge shift in momentum in the league’s competitive space. More and more PPA players continue to step up and prove that there’s a lot of talent in the field.
Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters have been dethroned from their triple crown winning streak. While the two pickleball superstars still managed to bring home the gold in multiple categories, the PPA now has some new champions for its 2023 season.
The 2023 Carvana Arizona Grand Slam was hosted at the beautiful Bell Bank Park sports complex. With 320 acres and 41 pickleball courts, Bell Bank is becoming one of professional pickleball’s main stages. Other pro leagues have also been hosting events at Bell Bank, such as the MLP’s first tournament of the year at MLP Mesa.
After a weekend filled with high energy pickleball competition, it all came down to yesterday: Championship Sunday. While the superstars Johns and Waters got to take home gold, there are several other champions who now deserve to be given their flowers. Let’s take a look!
Men’s Singles – Federico Staksrud vs. Jay Devilliers
The stars seemed to align for Federico Staksrud, as he claimed first place in Men’s Pro Singles.
With several players out this week, including top contender Tyson McGuffin who was out with a foot injury, the number 4 seed Staksrud was one of the favorites to take the top spot. After beating Ben Johns in the semifinals, who previously won every PPA Men’s Singles tournament in 2021, Staksrud went head to head with Jay Devilliers in the championship match.
Staksrud was able to keep his momentum going into the match with Devilliers. He absolutely dominated, winning the first game 11-2, and performing a clean sweep in game 2, 11-0.
Another point of interest in Men’s Singles was Ben Johns withdrawing from the runner up third place match. While Johns may have needed that additional time to prepare for the Men’s Doubles finals, it can also be looked at as a missed opportunity for fans having the chance to watch him play another singles match.
Men’s Doubles – Ben Johns and Collin Johns vs. Riley Newman and Matt Wright
Despite not making it to the Men’s Singles finals and narrowly missing the Mixed Doubles championship, Ben Johns was able to team up with his brother Collin Johns in the Men’s Doubles championship match.
The Johns brothers went up against the number 2 seeded team of Riley Newman and Matt Wright. Ben and Collin started off strong with a game 1 win, 11-7, but Newman and Wright responded quickly winning game 2, 11-7.
Game 3 was definitively controlled by the Johns brothers who won 11-4. Wright and Newman put up a fight in game 4, but Ben and Collin were able to clutch a victory at match point, 14-12.
11-7, 7-11, 11-4, 14-12— CARVANA PPA TOUR (@PPAtour) February 19, 2023
The Johns Bros win 3 straight Men’s Doubles Championships 🏆🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/xL331SmoUR
This weekend’s victory marks 3 wins in a row for the Johns brothers who continue to prove their dominance as the number 1 seed in Men’s Doubles.
Women’s Doubles – Anna Leigh Waters and Anna Bright vs. Jessie Irvine and Jackie Kawamoto
Anna Leigh Waters and Anna Bright took on Jessie Irvine and Jackie Kawamoto in the Women’s Doubles Championship. Bright and Waters first teamed up for the PPA during week 1 at the Hyundai Masters, where they started their year off with a finals win.
After spending week 2 apart, Bright and Waters reunited and proved to be a dominant team once again. While the first two matches were close, both teams winning a match 11-7, Bright and Waters were able to turn up in games 3 and 4 to claim total victory (11-7, 7-11, 11-1, 11-3).
“We were just focused on playing some clean pickleball, trying to minimize our bad decisions … just staying focused. The second game some things didn’t go our way, but staying disciplined and just coming back strong.”Anna Bright on Women’s Doubles Championship Win
Mixed Doubles – Jorja Johnson and JW Johnson vs. Anna Bright and Riley Newman
Anna Bright’s winning streak continued into Mixed Doubles, where she and teammate Riley Newman took home the gold.
Bright and Newman went up against the sibling duo of JW and Jorja Johnson. While everyone expected to see another dominant performance from Johns and Waters, the Johnson family were able to knock them out in the semifinals.
While the Johnson siblings were riding high from their victory over Johns and Waters, they couldn’t beat Newman and Bright. After a grueling 5 game match that went on for nearly 2 hours, Anna Bright and Riley Newman were able to claim their first victory of 2023 together (8-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-5, 11-4).
“It comes with a lot of momentum. We got a bronze a couple weekends ago, so now to finish up with a gold medal is just going to bring momentum on to the rest of the season.”Riley Newman on Mixed Doubles Championship Win
Women’s Singles – Anna Leigh Waters vs. Lea Jansen
Women’s Singles Champ 🏆 pic.twitter.com/zJGxLHicPc— CARVANA PPA TOUR (@PPAtour) February 19, 2023
The final match of Championship Sunday saw Anna Leigh Waters go up against Lea Jansen in Women’s Pro Singles. Waters has proven to be a difficult matchup for Jansen in the past, as Waters had won the last 14 of their previous matches.
Unfortunately for Jansen, that winning streak continues for Waters. Waters claimed victory after two decisive games, going 11-5, 11-5.
Waters’ victory in Women’s Singles marks her 8th gold medal of the season, also making her the winningest player in the league this season.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?