The PPA Tour returns to Seattle, Washington, the birthplace of pickleball. Over 1,000 pickleball players are registered to play this weekend, with the pro main draws returning to a more typical cast of characters.
Will Anna Leigh Waters take her 6th-straight triple crown for the year, playing alongside Ben Johns and Anna Bright? Let’s dive right in and break down some of our favorites going into this weekend who might put a stop to ALW’s winning streak!
Women’s singles has the smallest field of the pro events, with just 17 players registered. Among them, we still see many of our top players like Lea Jansen, Jorja Johnson, and Irina Tereschenko, all of which have a solid shot at taking down Waters in the finals.
Catherine Parenteau is taking all of July off, meaning this might be Lea’s time to shine again on Championship Sunday. Jansen hasn’t been able to take gold since August of 2021, but we saw her make a strong run at the Texas Open, where she nearly defeated ALW.
Jorja Johnson is coming off of a big gold medal finish at the Beer City Open last weekend. Not only did she take down Hurricane Tyra Black in singles, she also won a gold medal alongside her brother JW Johnson in mixed doubles and earned a bronze medal in women’s doubles with Lauren Stratman. After such a successful weekend, expect big things from Jorja in Seattle.
Unlike women’s singles, the men’s event is stacked with all of the top players. While many assume Ben Johns will come away with another Triple Crown with ALW, this event feels like the tightest competition has been in a while.
All eyes are on Christian Alshon, who had a silver medal finish at the Denver Open. Will he be able to capitalize on the newfound success in singles a second time? We’d love to see a rematch on Championship Sunday!
We’ve also got JW Johnson making his return to PPA singles. He’s known for his prowess in men’s doubles alongside Dylan Frazier, but he earned a silver in singles back at the Indoor National Championships earlier this year. Similar to his sister, by coming off of two gold medals at the Beer City Open, Johnson will also be riding that energy into this weekend.
I mean, it’s gotta be another W for ALW and Ben Johns, right? Well, they’ve got a vast main draw with 42 other teams to compete with for the title! Many teams will have a shot at a finals run, but a few in particular have caught our eye.
Jaume Martinez Vich pairs up with Judit Castillo, two of pro pickleball’s rising stars. Castillo made her entrance onto the scene with a big gold medal finish at the APP Sacramento Open back in May, and Martinez Vich surprised everyone with a silver medal run as the 19-seed at the Texas Open.
Another team we’d like to see on Championship Court is Anna Bright and James Ignatowich. The couple, both on and off the court, have quickly become fan favorites this year and are still shooting for a gold medal together.
Our last pick will have to be Lea Jansen and Federico Staksrud. Both are top players in their respective singles categories, but you can’t count them out in doubles. This is a team we’d like to see make a run for the finals match against ALW and Ben Johns, it would be an incredible matchup!
Speaking of Anna Bright, she’s partnering back up with Anna Leigh Waters for another event, and together they’re undefeated with five wins this year. If Waters wins this event, she’ll have 21 career wins in women’s doubles, tying Vivienne David for the record.
The Kawamotos had a huge gold medal finish together at last weekend’s Beer City Open, but this weekend they’ll be splitting up to partner up with two other top pros: Vivienne David and Jessie Irvine.
Jade Kawamoto is partnering with Irvine, and Jackie Kawamoto will play alongside David. Both pairs feel incredibly strong, but we have to give the edge to Jackie and Vivienne, as David recently earned a silver medal at the Denver Open while playing with Lacy Schneeman.
Seattle is the hometown of Riley Newman, who will be partnering up with Julian Arnold for the first time this year after recently ending his long-term doubles partnership with Matt Wright. Will they be the team to finally take down the Johns brothers?
There are 32 men’s doubles teams registered, and of course, we’ve got top teams like Dylan Frazier/JW Johnson and Pablo Tellez/Federico Staksrud, but there are many underdog pairings that might have a shot at taking home the gold.
Anytime we see the name Pesa Teoni on the bracket, you know we’re in for a wild ride. He’s been taking down the APP with Andrei Daescu all year long, and in this weekend’s PPA event, he’ll be partnered back up with Patrick Kawka. Kawka is another up-and-coming pro who’s hit the ground running in his first year of pro pickleball, already having medaled in multiple APP and PPA events.
Another team that might fly under the radar is that of Tyler Loong and Erik Lange. Loong turned up with the Seattle Pioneers in MLP Season One, and was recently drafted to a new powerhouse team, the Brooklyn Aces who are now backed by Drake and Michael B. Jordan, for Season Two. Lange also did well on the St. Louis Shock in Season One, and recently quit his corporate gig to pursue pickleball as a full-time career.
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