Red Rock Open PPA Pickleball Preview

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Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The PPA season rolls on as the pros head to St. George, Utah to compete at the Selkirk Red Rock Open. Singles is slated to start Wednesday with the championship matches concluding on Saturday, so move your clocks ahead a day so you don’t miss out on any of the action.

Here are the top storylines for the week ahead. 

Missing in Action

Several names we are accustomed to seeing on championship Sunday have decided to skip the event, most notably Ben Johns, Anna Leigh Waters, JW Johnson, Matt Wright and Dylan Frazier to name a few. This leaves the door wide open for other top pros to make a run at the podium. We saw what happened at the Vulcan Championships in Minnesota when Ben and ALW weren’t in attendance as James Ignatowich took home not one but two golds. Who will step up to the plate in Utah and replicate what Big Poppa Jimmy did is a question we can’t wait to get the answer to. 

Keep an Eye Out For

Outside of Federico Staksrud the men’s pro singles draw has about 8-10 names that could grab a podium spot. James Ignatowich, Jay Devilliers & Connor Garnett are all threats but be sure to keep an eye on Pablo Tellez. Tellez is coming off another MLP victory with the Bay Area Breakers and had an impressive run at the Florida Open in March taking home a bronze in singles. He’s no longer a sleeper but still isn’t considered by many as a serious contender.  

New Partnerships

With no Matt Wright, Riley Newman is teaming up with James Ignatowich. We have to assume Ignatowich was unsure of Mcguffin’s injury status which is why he decided to join forces with Newman. Some other interesting partnerships include Navratil/Hewett (former BLQK teammates who have had some spats on the singles court recently) and new MLP Night Owl teammates Collin Johns/Dekel Bar who both reside in the Austin area and know each other well. 

On the women’s side we have Anna Bright teaming up with Vivienne David and Catherine Parenteau partnering with Andrea Koop. Both Bright and Parenteau normally trade off playing with Anna Leigh Waters so it will be interesting to see if they can both make it to championship Saturday without her.

Last but not least in mixed we have Andrea Koop pairing up with Riley Newman and Lucy Kovalova playing with Dekel Bar. Bar has had a down year by his standards but has the opportunity to turn that around with a good showing this week. 

Podium Picks

Men’s Singles

Gold: Federico Stakrud: With no Ben it’s gotta be Fed.

Silver: Pablo Tellez: His MLP success carries over here.

Bronze: Tyson Mcguffin: Tyson gets his first singles medal of the year.

Women’s Singles 

Gold: Catherine Parenteau: She’s leaps ahead of anyone not named Anna Leigh Waters. 

Silver: Brooke Buckner: She has pushed some of the game’s best but has yet to break through. She finally does in Utah.

Bronze: Allyce Jones: Salome Devidze will be playing on two day’s rest after a grueling week at the APP Mesa Open and we aren’t sure how motivated Jansen is in singles right now.

Mixed Doubles:

Gold: Bright/Ignatowich: They looked very in sync in Austin and are the favorites.

Silver: Koop/Newman: Both played great at MLP Daytona. They’ll find a way to make the final.

Bronze: Mcguffin/Parenteau: A favorable draw should allow this duo to capture a bronze.

Women’s Doubles

Gold: Bright/David: Bright is playing lights out right now and we expect that to continue.

Silver: Kovalova/Smith: Big week for Callie & Lucy to get back on track and they are luckily on the easier side of the draw.

Bronze: Wright/Dizon: They are fresh off an MLP premier league title together and should be flowing with confidence.

Men’s Doubles

Gold: Newman/Ignatowich: Newman is the best men’s doubles player in the field by a wide margin.

Silver: Loong/Dawson: Their chemistry prevails as they get their first medal of 2023.

Bronze: Bar/Johns: Johns will allow Bar to take a ton of court which is where he is at his best.

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