The PPA Tour heads to Brigham City, Utah, for the Vulcan Tournament of Champions. This event kicks off early today, meaning that we get to see a Championship Saturday instead of the typical Sunday!
Over 600 players are registered and ready to compete; however, the tour’s top pros, Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns, won’t be present. This will open doors for other top pro players to make an appearance in the finals, so we might see new faces take home the gold!
Gabriel Joseph took home his first PPA gold medal at last weekend’s PPA Takeya Showcase, coming in as the 24-seed and taking down 2-seed Federico Staksrud in the finals. Will he be able to feed off of that victory and push himself to back-to-back finals appearances?
Speaking of Staksrud, he finds himself as the 1-seed, and might find himself facing off against Joseph again in this weekend’s quarterfinals – this is definitely a rematch to watch out for! On this same side of the bracket, we also think that 4-seed Connor Garnett and 5-seed Christian Alshon have a chance at making a run for a finals appearance.
Catherine Parenteau is back in action and fired up for a singles run as the 1-seed while ALW is away! She’s also partnering up with Parris Todd in women’s singles and Tyson McGuffin in mixed, both of which will be teams to be reckoned with.
Sharing CP’s side of the bracket, we think that 4-seed Mary Brascia and 5-seed Lauren Stratman have a chance at meeting Parenteau in the semis, especially Stratman, who made her way to the semifinals in California.
The other side of the bracket is stacked. APP star Salome Devidze leads the pack as the 2-seed, but coming off her big loss at last weekend’s APP St. Louis Open, we’ll have to see if she can bounce back and prove herself in the even tougher PPA singles draw.
Hurricane Tyra Black recently took home her first gold medal and also managed to take down the undefeated Anna Leigh Waters – expect big things from her this weekend. Finally, look out for a quarterfinals match between Irina Tereschenko and Judit Castillo, both strong singles players who will be on the hunt for gold while ALW is away!
The Johns brothers are gone, allowing Riley Newman to lead the pack as the 1-seed with new doubles partner AJ Koller. The former MLP Hard Eights teammates weren’t able to fully capitalize in their first tournament together at the Takeya Showcase, but we have a feeling this could be their moment to shine.
Another team on their side of the bracket to watch out for is that of Julian Arnold and Thomas Wilson. It feels like they’ve been locked in ever since their MLP Season One Super Finals victory with the Mad Drops, and the two are always fun to watch each week – it’s only a matter of time until we see them in the finals, and it could be this weekend.
On the other side of the bracket it’s all about one team: Daescu and Frazier. Since JW Johnson is absent this tournament, Dylan Frazer is teaming up with the APP GOAT himself, Andrei Daescu. This is the team to beat in our opinion, but they are going to have some tough competition in teams like McGuffin/Ignatowich, Staksrud/Tellez, and Garnett/Alshon.
Much like we’re all in with Daescu/Frazier in men’s doubles, we’re all in with the team of Jessie Irvine and Lea Jansen in women’s doubles. They are rightfully 1-seeds while ALW is gone, and it feels like they will be locked into a finals appearance.
On their side of the bracket, they will likely have to face off against the 4-seeded team of Catherine Parenteau and Parris Todd. At a glance, the Parenteau/Todd pairing feels strong, but this is Parenteau’s first PPA tournament in over a month, and Todd, while a powerhouse in the APP, has yet to truly find her footing in the PPA.
On the other side of the women’s doubles bracket, we’ve got an exciting new duo of Tyra Black and Anna Bright. Bright has been playing at the top of her game alongside ALW, and Black keeps getting better and better at pickleball with each tournament she plays at. These are two of our favorite rising stars this year, and we hope to see them play in the finals together this weekend!
Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns aren’t here to claim yet another gold together in mixed doubles, so who will take their place? This is one of the biggest mixed doubles draws we’ve seen this year featuring some incredible teams.
This is the event we see Catherine Parenteau marking her return to the PPA, as she’s partnering back up with Tyson McGuffin. McGuffin recently noted that his first ever major tournament he played in was the Tournament of Champions back in 2016, and now here we are seven years later back where it all started. Expect big things from this duo!
Another team we are excited to watch is James Ignatowich and Anna Bright, everyone’s favorite couple in pro pickleball. The two took a bronze medal at the Takeya Showcase with an incredible 2-0 match win over the Newmans. Hopefully, this weekend is their’s to take the gold.
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