Connor Garnett hits a backhand at the Pickleball Central Indoor USA Championships.
Connor Garnett is into his first final of 2024 in men's singles. PPA Tour

Garnett gets past Alshon to make first 2024 final

LAKEVILLE, MN - Each one of Connor Garnett’s four matches on Thursday went to three games.

And yet, he’s one of two men still in the running for men’s singles gold at the Pickleball Central Indoor USA Championships.

He faced No. 3 seed Christian Alshon in the semifinals, who himself had some three-game battles to make the final four.

These two faced off in the quarterfinals of the Carvana Mesa Arizona Cup just a few weeks ago, with Garnett winning 11-8, 11-5.

The victory wouldn’t come as easily today.

Garnett took Game 1 11-7 and had a 5-0 lead in Game 2, but Alshon came roaring back to take Game 2 11-6 and tie the match.

It looked like Garnett would comfortably close out the contest when he jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the deciding game, but multiple match point saves by Alshon helped the ‘Tweener King’ slowly get back into it.

The No. 2 seed didn’t let his opponent’s run of well-constructed points get to him, though.

“You’re not really getting nervous if he’s just going out and beating you on those match points,” Garnett explained. “You’ve just got to keep doing what you were doing to get you there and hope that one converts.”

One eventually did convert to give Garnett the Game 3 win 11-7. He’ll now have a shot at his first gold medal of 2024 on Championship Sunday.

He’ll take on Federico Staksrud, who didn’t drop a single game on Thursday, in the final.