Riley Newman hits a backhand.
Riley Newman and Etta Wright competing at the Veolia Sacramento Open presented by Best Day Brewing. PPA Tour

First-time partners Wright, Newman roll into mixed doubles semis

ROSEVILLE, CA - Etta Wright and Riley Newman have hardly any reps playing together, but that hasn’t stopped them from running through the mixed doubles draw in northern California.

The No. 5 seeds are into the semifinals after a 13-11, 12-10 victory over No. 2 seeds Vivienne David and Thomas Wilson.

They found themselves trailing 8-10 in Game 1, but they impressively saved six game points and eventually closed it out 13-11 thanks to some well-placed backhand drives from Newman.

That momentum from stealing the first game continued into Game 2, where the pair rode an early 5-1 lead to a 12-10 triumph to move on.

This is Newman’s first PPA Tour event since February, and the 77-time medalist looks like he’s picking up right where he left off, despite the improvements he sees from his competitors.

“I come back, and it’s like everyone’s hitting the ball harder and using more spin,” he said. “I feel like I’m the old guy on tour now, so I’ve got to come up with some new tricks and just keep trying to stay relevant out here.”

This is the first time that Wright and Newman are competing in mixed doubles together, but Wright enjoys the challenge of learning the tendencies of her new partner.

“I think it’s just about taking it one point at a time,” she explained. “When you’re playing with someone different, there are different movements on the court, but it’s actually fun to figure out how to adjust. I think it also helps me improve as a player as well.”

The pair will face the winner of the match between Anna Bright and James Ignatowich and Hurricane Tyra Black and Dylan Frazier in the semifinals.