Last weekend was an absolute pickleball party in the mountains of St. George, UT. This year’s PPA Selkirk Red Rock Open saw the return of many pickleball stars to the championship court.
The tournament ran from Wednesday, April 4, to Championship Saturday, April 8, due to the holiday of Easter. Among other returning champs, Tyson McGuffin’s finally back in full form with two gold medals after dealing with an ongoing foot injury.
If you missed the action from last week’s tournament, there’s a lot to talk about! Let’s dive right in.
Women’s Singles – Parenteau vs. Devidze
To kick off Championship Saturday, women’s singles saw the number 1 seed Catherine Parenteau take on 3-seed Salome Devidze. Devidze went into the competition coming off of a huge win at the APP Mesa Open the previous weekend.
There was lots of drama in women’s singles last weekend surrounding Devidze and the 2-seed Lea Jansen. Ahead of the tournament, Jansen took to Twitter to air out some of her issues with the singles format and suggested that cheating was rampant with paddles and performance-enhancing drugs.
I’m a firm believer that the singles division needs to be eliminated in pickleball. Least watched event, most damage on body, and no monetary gain.— Lea Jansen (@LeaJansenPB) April 2, 2023
While not publicly accusatory of Devidze specifically, the tension during their bronze medal match was palpable to say the least. Following Devidze’s win, instead of the customary paddle tap we often see in a moment of good sportsmanship, we instead saw what looked like Jansen calling for Devidze’s paddle to be tested.
In the championship match, Devidze jokingly commented, “Can we check her paddle?” as Catherine Parenteau completely took charge of both games. Parenteau won decisively in game one, 11-1, and while Devidze was able to find some footing in game two, Parenteau took home the gold with a win, 11-6.
Men’s Doubles – Johns/Bar vs. McGuffin/Long
With Ben Johns out of the mix for this tournament, #1 men’s doubles player Collin Johns paired up with Dekel Bar. Similarly, Tyson McGuffin paired up with a new partner for the tournament, Brendon Long, and together as the 6-seed were able to fight their way to the finals.
What ensued was possibly the best men’s doubles match we’ve seen all year. Not only did it go the distance as a best 3-out-of-5 match, but we also got to see McGuffin clearly back in his prime.
Long and McGuffin’s teamwork shined through in game one with a quick 11-1 win. The pairing of McGuffin’s strength with Long’s finesse at the kitchen was vital throughout the match.
Bar and Johns responded with a big win of their own in game two, 11-3. Game three is where things started to really heat up, with both teams going back and forth. Holding match point at 10-4, Bar and Johns were faced by 4 points straight from McGuffin and Long, but were able to push the match to game four by winning 11-8.
Men’s Doubles Champs 🏆 pic.twitter.com/bpgQ7hVZ6q— CARVANA PPA TOUR (@PPAtour) April 8, 2023
Game four was once again commanded by McGuffin and Long, where they won 11-3. Game four was all fireworks from McGuffin and Long. Bar and Johns looked like they had it all locked up at 10-7, but McGuffin and Long had other things in mind.
At 12-11, McGuffin had serve at championship point. After a short rally, Bar just barely hit it out of bounds on a difficult backhand at the kitchen, allowing Long and McGuffing to claim victory, 13-11.
We’re happy to once again see that Tyson energy back on the championship stage, and are excited to see what the future holds for Long. This was Long’s first PPA final match ever, and it’s clear from his performance that it won’t be his last.
Women’s Doubles – Jones/Jansen vs. Dizon/Wright
With the favorite Anna Leigh Waters out of the picture, women’s doubles saw some upsets that put two very interesting teams in the finals. 6-seed Meghan Dizon and Etta Wright paired up to take on 4-seed Lea Jansen and Allyce Jones for the championship match.
The excitement of a 5-game match from men’s doubles followed into women’s doubles. The MLP Daytona Beach MVP Meghan Dizon partnered up with her Seattle Pioneers teammate Etta Wright to see if they could take their success in the MLP to the PPA. Jansen and Jones have also been an incredibly strong team in doubles together in the PPA, so we knew that this matchup would be full of excitement.
Game one went to a second match point, with Jones and Jansen securing the win 12-10. Game two started pretty close, but Wright and Dizon were able to pull ahead in the second half, securing the win 11-6.
Game three saw similar results to game two, with Dizon and Wright winning 11-5, and Jansen and Jones were able to bounce back with an 11-3 game four win, pushing the match to a game five tiebreaker. Game five was fought at the kitchen all match long, but Dizon and Wright were able to dig deep and applied enough pressure to come out on top as the women’s doubles gold medalists.
Mixed Doubles – Bright/Ignatowich vs. Irvine/Koller
The mixed doubles match saw 3-seed team AJ Koller and Jessie Irvine take on 4-seed team James Ignatowich and Anna Bright. A couple on and off the court, Ignatowich and Bright have been on the hunt for their first finals win together, and they were able to make it happen at Red Rock.
Bright and Ignatowich were able to take the first two games (11-7, 12-10) and went into game three with victory on the horizon. Right out the gates, the two took a commanding 7-1 lead, and were able to maintain their lead all the way to match point, claiming their first title together with an 11-3 win.
“I felt like they made an adjustment in the second game … It got in my head a little bit, but I toughed it out. I feel like I do decently well head-on with AJ, and you just gotta be ready for crazy against him. We got it done, super stoked.”Anna Bright
Men’s Singles – Mcguffin vs. Tellez
The final match of the day saw Pablo Tellez make his debut in the finals of PPA men’s singles as he went up against the men’s double champion, Tyson McGuffin. Within the first few points of the match, we knew we were in for a firefight at the line.
Tellez started game one strong with a 7-0 lead, but McGuffin was able to fight his back and tie it all up at 9-9. McGuffin then swiftly took game one after Tellez missed back-to-back returns.
Game two saw a lot of back and forth between the two, with the game coming to a head at 7-7. From there, McGuffin was able to turn up the gas, winning the match with 4 unanswered points, 11-7.
McGuffin’s triumphant return to pro pickleball is exciting to see. The last couple month’s have been difficult for him trying to bounce back from the foot injury he endured, and the pickleball world is happy to have him back in action.
“I had a conversation with my wife and had been a little down and dark lately and said maybe I’m not cut out for singles. But once I got healthy, here I am. Surprise, surprise. Daddy’s home. Two at once today.”Tyson McGuffin
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