The 14th Annual USA Pickleball National Championships lived up to the hype of being the most significant pro pickleball event of the year. Since its humble beginnings as an amateur qualifying tournament back in 2009, the National Championships has come a long way. What started as a 400-player tournament has blossomed into a massive 3,000+ player, week-long pickleball festival!
Focusing on the pro player pool for this event, predominantly comprised of APP and PPA Tour athletes, the pro action exhibited some of the best performances we’ve seen this year! Let’s dive right in.
Men’s Singles – Jaume Martinez Vich vs. JW Johnson
The moment we should’ve known something was up in men’s singles was when 16-seed Christopher Haworth pickled Eduardo Irizarry in his first game of the tournament, 11-0! Haworth never let off the gas after that moment and went on to take down pro pickleball’s number 1 men’s athlete, Ben Johns, in just two quick games (11-4, 11-4)!
Haworth also toppled rising star Collin Shick in the quarters, lost to JW Johnson in the semi-finals, but claimed third place in the tournament after defeating Hunter Johnson in the bronze-medal match. Haworth was a blast to watch, and he 100% earned his medal in the National Championships!
The finals match was equally exciting, seeing 7-seed Jaume Martinez Vich face off against 4-seed JW Johnson. Vich looked incredible strong going into the finals, as he only dropped one game leading up to the match against Johnson. JW looked equally fantastic on his side of the bracket, not dropping a single game leading into the finals.
Johnson managed to come out on top after a difficult 3-game match (6-11, 11-7, 11-5), making him the men’s singles champion!
Women’s Doubles – Parenteau/Waters vs. Brascia/Brascia
Matches were played best-of-five in doubles, which added a little extra excitement to the National Championships’ progression draw structure. However, the added games and extended schedule didn’t affect the performances of Catherine Parenteau and Anna Leigh Waters on their journey to earning gold. The two won every game they played in women’s dubs, and, honestly, very few were even close.
Meeting the unbeatable duo in the finals was the 6-seed team of Mary and Maggie Brascia. The two sisters made their finals debut together after a wild ride through the main draw, notably taking down the favored 2-seed team of Anna Bright and Jade Kawamoto, who we believed were going to go all the way!
Congrats to the Brascia’s for a well-earned silver this tournament; we’re eager to see their return to the finals together soon. As for ALW and CP, nobody’s going to stop those two on their way to the PPA Tour Finals at the end of November.
Men’s Doubles – Johns/Johns vs. Frazier/Johnson
The Johns Brothers do it again! The two have been one of the top-performing teams on the PPA Tour right now, and are often thought of as the best men’s doubles team of all time. They reflected that sentiment in Dallas, earning the gold medal in a swift three-game match against JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier in the finals.
Both teams cruised through the main draw on their respective sides of the bracket, with JW and Dylan notably taking down the MLP superteam of Riley Newman and Christian Alshon in the semi-finals. The Johns brothers met 4-seeds Pablo Tellez and Federico Staksrud in the semis, and managed to defeat them 3-0 (11-1, 11-7, 11-7).
Mixed Doubles – Johns/Waters vs. Ignatowich/Bright
Of all the events in Dallas, this was the most cookie-cutter in terms of results. We got to see the top two teams in the finals and the 3-seed face off against the 4-seed in the bronze medal match.
Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters were back in peak form this tournament, not dropping a single game throughout the event. Their most impressive performance was arguably in the finals, where they defeated 2-seeds Anna Bright and James Ignatowich (11-6, 11-5, 11-3). Ignatowich and Bright also were locked in all weekend, and when they’re on fire, the two are easily one of our favorite teams to watch.
The bronze-medal match saw Riley Newman and Parris Todd face off against JW and Jorja Johnson. The Johnson siblings were on our radar, especially after their big win together at the Beer City Open. Newman and Todd partnered up for the first time this tournament and didn’t disappoint, though we wish we could’ve seen their match against Tyson McGuffin and Catherine Parenteau in the quarterfinals before McGuffin withdrew from the competition.
Women’s Singles – Anna Leigh Waters vs. Catherine Parenteau
Finally, we’ve got women’s singles, where Anna Leigh Waters managed to secure yet another triple crown, marking 20 total in her career! Her battle with Catherine Parenteau was the perfect way to wrap up one of the biggest pro pickleball events of the year.
CP held her own throughout the tournament, too, not dropping a single game until meeting ALW in the finals. Bronze medalist Judit Castillo was miles ahead of her usual APP competitors, taking down Salome Devidze in the quarter-finals and Megan Fudge in the bronze-medal match (11-7, 11-9).
While she didn’t medal, Megan Fudge also played notably well. She double-pickled (11-0, 11-0) her first opponent in the round of 16 and just narrowly lost to CP in the semis (8-11, 10-12).
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