Over 1,000 players are signed up to play in the PPA Kansas City Open. After last weekend’s rise of Tyson McGuffin and the return of Catherine Parenteau, it’ll be interesting to see how the draws fair with Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns hopping back in the mix.
With a larger player pool, this tournament has several interesting draws and matchups to look forward to! At the top of everyone’s list is the return of Ben Johns and Matt Wright, who were a top-performing team years ago until Ben started teaming up with his brother Collin. But do they have the best chance at winning in men’s dubs? Let’s take a look and see what they’ll be up against!
As mentioned, all eyes will be on Ben Johns and Matt Wright in men’s dubs this weekend. Collin Johns is out with an Achilles tendon injury, and Matt Wright has been looking for doubles partners ever since Riley Newman broke up with him, so the Wright/Johns duo is back at it again!
When they played together back in 2021, they achieved ten medals together, including seven gold medal finishes. Expectations are high for them going into this weekend, but they’ve got some tough competition to face, including the recent gold medal finalists from the Tournament of Champions: Tyson McGuffin and James Ignatowich.
Ignatowich and McGuffin have really locked in their partnership at this point in the 2023 season, and it only felt like a matter of time until they hit the top of the podium. They played lights out last weekend, with one of the greatest comebacks we’ve seen this year in the finals match. Expect them to take that same energy into this weekend!
The moment we’ve all been waiting for: Catherine Parenteau and Anna Leigh Waters are back together! Both Parenteau and Waters have taken a few breaks this year, making it several months since we’ve seen them together in the PPA. Every time they have played together this year, they’ve won, so expect to see them on Championship Sunday no matter what!
Parenteau also achieved a triple crown last weekend alongside Tyson McGuffin, making her debut performance after her break one of the best we’ve seen from her this year. She took some time off from the PPA but definitely didn’t take time off from pickleball – she’s as sharp as ever!
With CP stepping back into her role as Waters’ doubles partner, Anna Bright will now be partnering up with Meghan Dizon. Both players have proven their strength on the right in the PPA, and we’re curious to see how the two play together this weekend!
McGuffin and Parenteau have reached the finals three times together this year, with last week being their first gold medal finish. However, Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns are back this weekend and have been the force that has stopped McGuffin and Parenteau from claiming gold in the past. We expect to see these two teams clash in the finals, and it is likely to be the best match of the tournament.
Besides the top two teams, there are several other teams to watch out for. James Ignatowich is still riding that high from his first-ever men’s doubles gold medal at the Tournament of Champions, and he’s continued to develop his game alongside Anna Bright with each tournament despite getting shut down together last weekend. We expect them to bounce back and make a run for the finals in Kansas City!
Our sleeper team going into this weekend is that of Hurricane Tyra Black and Christian Alshon. Both players have been on the come-up lately, especially in singles. Tyra Black managed to take down the undefeated Anna Leigh Waters at the Takeya Showcase, and Alshon continues to crush tweeners. Plain and simple, this team is going to be fun to watch.
Ben Johns vs. Tyson McGuffin. We need this matchup in the finals! McGuffin’s coming off a triple crown, and Johns is going to be well-rested after his week off.
However, the men’s singles draw runs deep this weekend, so it will by no means be a straight shot to the podium for Johns or McGuffin. On McGuffin’s side of the bracket, we expect solid performances from Connor Garnett, Federico Staksrud, and Dylan Frazier. On Johns’ side of the bracket, we expect him to meet Christian Alshon in the quarter-finals and JW Johnson in the semis.
Our sleeper pick for men’s singles will always be Jaume Martinez Vich. Vich’s debut year in pro pickleball has been a wild one, to say the least, and he’s already got multiple medals under his belt. Will this be the tournament in which he finally claims gold?
ALW is back and looking to reclaim her crown from Catherine Parenteau, who completely dominated singles last weekend. We anticipate seeing the two in the finals match after CP takes on Yana Newell in the semis and Waters defeats Irina Tereschenko on her side of the bracket.
One PPA newcomer that has caught our eye lately is Chao Yi Wang, a Joola-sponsored tennis and pickleball player from Taiwan. She’s earned multiple gold medals in several international events, most notably the Asia Pickleball Open 2023, where she earned four gold medals. Her first PPA event was the Seattle Open and she has played in main draws since.
While she’s still getting her footing in the PPA scene, we think it won’t be long until Wang starts making runs deeper into the main draw and eventually to Championship Sunday!
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