Connor Garnett celebrates his gold medal in singles at the Veolia LA Open.
Connor Garnett celebrates his gold medal in singles at the Veolia LA Open. PPA Tour

A final look at PPA Veolia LA Open

The latest stop on the PPA Tour, in Los Angeles for the Veolia LA Open, is now over.

The tournament featured some nice weather and the usual great competition.

The tournament included some new winners, and some new faces on the medal stand.

Let’s take a look at the highlights.
1. A few new winners
Both of the singles draws featured players not typically finding their way to gold medals.  In men’s singles, #3 seed Connor Garnett beat top singles players Federico Staksrud, Aanik Lohani, Jaume Martinez Vich, and Rafa Hewett on his way to the gold medal. Garnett really earned this one, needing to win three decisive game threes along the way.  In women’s singles, #5 seed Brooke Buckner grabbed her first PPA gold medal, with a win over Lauren Stratman. Buckner almost lost in the round of 32, before winning in three games. The fact that gold medal winners sometimes almost lose in the round of 32 shows the depth of these draws.
2. Newer players emerging as consistent medal contenders
Once again, the depth of talent on the PPA tour is demonstrated by a couple of newer faces showing up again on the medal stand. First, in men’s doubles, veteran Tyson McGuffin teamed with Jaime Martinez Vich to get the silver medal. Tyson and JMV gave the Johns brothers all they could handle, only losing in a deciding 5th game of a very close and tough match. That’s two men’s doubles medals in a row for JMV, as he is showing he is not just a singles specialist. Similarly, the bronze went to Connor Garnett and Augie Ge. Garnett/Ge were the #7 seed, but they defeated #3 seed Staksrud/Tellez and forced the Johns brothers to 3 games before losing. Like JMV, this was Ge’s second straight men’s doubles medal. JMV and Ge have shown, quite clearly, that they are players to be reckoned with at each and every event.
3. A breakthrough win
In mixed doubles, the #2 seed Vivienne David and Thomas Wilson have been so close so often, but have had trouble getting by the top seed. This week, they broke through beating top seed Anna Bright/Ben Johns in a four-game final to take the gold. David and Wilson had to earn this win, as they were forced to a deciding third game in the round of 32, the round of 16, and the quarters.
4. Upsets and new medalists
In addition to there being new winners, there were some new medalists. In women’s doubles, #6 Lacy Schneemann and Vivian Glozman took the silver. Glozman has not been seen much lately on the PPA tour, so it was nice to see her come back with an excellent run. In men’s singles, #23 Roscoe Bellamy took home the bronze medal. Winning any medal at a PPA event is special; doing it from the #23 seed is very difficult and worth noting. In mixed doubles, #8 seed Tina Pisnik and Collin Johns grabbed the bronze. Neither is really new to medaling, but Collin Johns’ mixed game is often derided. So, he deserves a shout-out for earning a mixed medal, and proving he is not just Ben’s partner is men’s doubles. For notable upsets, #13 Hayden Patriquin took down top seed Ben Johns in the round of 16, in convincing fashion 11-6, 11-6. In women’s doubles, #13 Angela and Angie Walker took out the #4 seed Allyce Jones/Lauren Stratman 13-11 in the third game. Finally, in women’s singles, #29 Layne Sleeth beat #4 Irina Tereschenko in the round of 32. These results all show there are no easy matches in a PPA draw; the difference between losing in the round of 32 and winning a medal is very thin.
5. Ready to challenge for #1?
In women’s doubles, #1 seed Anna Bright/Rachel Rohrabacher put on a clinic. They did not lose a single game on their way to a gold medal. Several of their matches were blowouts. The question now becomes are they ready to challenge Anna Leigh Waters and Catherine Parenteau for the crown as the best women’s doubles team? Bright and Rohrabacher have shown they can beat everyone else. They are definitely ready to challenge the champs. Everyone will be looking forward to the inevitable finals that are coming between these top 2 teams. If Bright/Rohrabacher want to be the best, they have to beat the best.
Next up is the Red Rock Open from St.George, Utah. Jack Sock is expected back in the lineup, although we will still be missing ALW/CP. Sock will undoubtedly bring his usual level of excitement and fun to the event. He continues to be must-see pickleball, even though his results have not quite matched the hype. Will this be the week when Sock makes a medal stand? Come on out to the Little Valley complex and see the best players in the world compete. See you there!
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