Alshon, Garnett make first doubles final, top seeds prevail in women’s bracket

Alshon, Garnett make first doubles final, top seeds prevail in women’s bracket

DALLAS, TX - Two new faces will take the court in men’s doubles on Championship Sunday at the Hertz Gold Cup.

Christian Alshon and Connor Garnett came into Pictona as the No. 13 seeds, but put together clinical victories over the No. 4, No. 5, and No. 8 seeds to fly into the final.

This isn’t the first time that this duo has found success playing together, however. The former tennis players took bronze at the Vulcan Tournament of Champions in August.

Still, it didn’t hurt that No. 16 seeds Wyatt Stone and Jaume Martinez Vich beat No. 1 seeds Ben and Collin Johns in the Round of 16 to open up that top half of the draw.

Garnett credits the team’s success to patience and not forcing points and patterns to develop too quickly.

“I think it’s evident that both Christian and I like to play fast, so it came down to slowing down the game and just being smart and really earning it,” the former investment banker explained.

Alshon also gave his coach Leigh Waters a shoutout for how she has helped him understand pickleball strategy.

“She’s an ace in the hole,” he raved. “If you have people that are a similar level, then the players with the better strategy are gonna win 10 out of 10 times, so I can’t say enough good things about how she has helped me.”

No. 2 seeds JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier stand between the duo and their first gold medals in doubles. The Nationals silver-medalists looked methodical and didn’t drop a game on their way to their 11th final of 2023.

On the women’s side, the top two seeds made Championship Sunday without dropping a single game themselves.

Anna Leigh Waters and Catherine Parenteau punched their ticket to the finals with an 11-3, 11-5 victory over No. 12 seeds Vivienne David and Andrea Koop.

They did it by varying the looks they gave to their opponents.

“Being able to switch strategies mid-match is a huge thing, and we were able to do that like three times this match,” Waters shared.

Shortly afterwards, Callie Jo Smith and Lucy Kovalova made it through their semifinal match against No. 6 seeds Lacy Schneemann and Jade Kawamoto 13-11, 11-7.

It was a tough—and at times, tense—match for the No. 2 seeds, as they were going up against a team that earned silver medals together at Pictona back in March at the Red Clay Hot Sauce Florida Open.

But Smith and Kovalova relied on their chemistry in the big moments to book a spot in their fifth final of 2023.

“She’s always encouraging,” Smith said of her partner. “I love playing next to her on the court. She does calm me down sometimes because I get fired up.”

We’ll see if that fire helps the team hand Waters and Parenteau their first loss of 2023 on Championship Sunday.

It’s a rematch of the final at October’s Guaranteed Rate PPA Championships in Las Vegas that Waters and Parenteau won 7-11, 11-6, 11-8, 11-5.