The momentum of the PPA Tour continues to shift following last weekend’s Vulcan Indoor National Championships. Winter storms couldn’t cool off the competition, as many pro players made their first podium appearances of the PPA’s 2023 season.
Hosted at the Lakeville Lifetime Fitness in Minneapolis, the Indoor National Championships saw many of pickleball’s greatest athletes put on a show for Championship Sunday. With all-stars Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters not participating in this event, the field was wide open for other pro players to claim victory.
Men’s Singles – JW Johnson vs. James Ignatowich
With several of the Men’s Singles top contenders missing, such as Ben Johns and Tyson McGuffin who is still recovering from a foot injury, several other competitors rose to the occasion.
The 8 seeded JW Johnson was able to claim a spot in the finals match by knocking out the winner of the previous week’s tournament, Federico Staksrud. James Ignatowich was able to defeat this tournament’s bronze medalist, Jay Devilliers, in the semi finals decisively in a 2-game match.
Johnson and Ignatowich met in a quick but flashy finals match. Ignatowich established his dominance quickly in game 1, winning 11-1. Game 2 was a little closer, with Johnson closing the gap throughout, but Ignatowich was able to claim gold, winning 11-8.
Women’s Doubles – Kovalova/Smith vs. Jansen/Jones
Lucy Kovalova and Callie Smith joined forces to take on Lea Jansen and Allyce Jones. Jones and Jansen took a fast and strong lead, winning game 1, 11-3.
However, the duo of Kovalova and Smith remained determined and were able to claim victory after 3 incredibly close games: 11-8, 13-11, 11-10.
“The first game, it’s more you’re trying to figure out a strategy. We tried a couple things in game 1 that obviously didn’t work because we lost, so then we made some adjustments in game 2 … I think we played our roles very well today, and we are just super happy to be back and win this tournament again.”Lucy Kovalova on winning Women’s Doubles
Mixed Doubles – Parenteau/Ignatowich vs. Stratman/Arnold
James Ignatowich paired up with Catherine Parenteau to win another gold medal over the underdog 14 seeded team of Julian Arnold and Lauren Stratman.
Stratman and Arnold, a power couple both on and off the court, were able to make their way to the Mixed Doubles Championship by knocking out the number 3 seeded pair of Jessie Irvine and Jay Devilliers in a compelling 2-game match, 11-1, 11-1.
Parenteau and Ignatowich bested the defended champs from last week’s Arizona Grand Slam, Anna Bright and Riley Newman, in the semis. The duo were able to keep this momentum going into the finals match against Arnold and Stratman, claiming victory in a close 4 game match, 11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 11-5.
Mixed Doubles Champions 🏆 pic.twitter.com/PA7TgRxgtN— CARVANA PPA TOUR (@PPAtour) February 26, 2023
Men’s Doubles – Frazier/Johnson vs. Staksrud/Tellez
Men’s Doubles was full of upsets this week. One of the favorites, the #2 seed team of Collin Johns and James Ignatowich was knocked out in the opening round by the #15 team of Julian Arnold and Rob Nunnery.
The final match saw #4 seed Dylan Frazier and JW Johnson go head to head against #11 seed Federico Staksrud and Pablo Tellez. Frazier and Johnson were riding high after knocking out the #1 seeded team of Riley Newman and Matt Wright, and took that energy into the finals, going 3-0 (11-6, 11-3, 11-7).
“Lefty-righty combos are tough, I think they’re pretty strong. We usually have a game plan going into it, and we stuck with it and it worked there for us … I think a lot of players and people were maybe surprised to see them here in the final, but I think I can speak for JW and I both that we weren’t surprised to see them here in the final. They’ve been playing really well, so congrats to them.”Dylan Frazier on his matchup against Staksrud and Tellez
Women’s Singles – Lea Jansen vs. Catherine Parenteau
The final matchup of the day was in Women’s Singles. With reigning champ Anna Leigh Waters out of the picture, Lea Jansen became the #1 seed and Catherine Parenteau rose to #3.
Both Parenteau and Jansen have been gunning for a championship win all season, and their performances in the finals absolutely reflected that. Jansen came out of the gates strong, dominating the first game, 11-2.
Parenteau was able to adapt and respond accordingly. After winning a close game 2 (11-6), Parenteau started game 3 at a 0-5 disadvantage. In the highlight performance of the tournament, Parenteau was able to respond with 11 uncontested points, winning the final game of the match 11-5 and taking home the gold.
“I feel amazing. It’s been a struggle in Singles. I think my mindset had been pretty negative lately, and I’m just super happy. I really had to fight really hard mentally. I’ve been playing Lea and lost the last couple times against her. She’s a really tough player, so I’m just really happy to get the win today.”Catherine Parenteau on her win in Women’s Singles
The PPA Tour continues March 9-12 with their stop at the legendary Pictona at Holly Hill for the PPA Florida Open. Stay tuned here at Pickleball Union for more pro pickleball event previews and recaps!
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