Hertz Gold Cup means crunch time for PPA Finals hopefuls
DALLAS, TX - For players in the running to qualify for the PPA Tour Finals in San Clemente, CA at the end of November, the time to make their move is now.
Qualification for San Clemente is based on The Race, a ranking system based on player performance throughout the calendar year. The Race differs from the traditional PPA Tour rankings; to learn more about the difference between the two, read this.
This week's Hertz Gold Cup at Pictona in Holly Hill, FL is the last opportunity to earn points to qualify for the season-ending tournament. Since it’s a PPA 1000 event, there are 1,000 points up for grabs in each bracket.
With main draw action beginning Thursday, let’s take a look at the competitors who need to bring it this week in the Sunshine State.
Irina Tereschenko, Yana Newell, Lacy Schneemann and Jade Kawamoto currently have the last four spots in women’s doubles, but Jorja Johnson and Lauren Stratman are both within striking distance if they go far in Florida. Both Schneemann and Kawamoto are coming into Daytona with some momentum, having made it to the semis at Nationals alongside Vivienne David and Anna Bright, respectively. They are teaming up for the Hertz Gold Cup and will be looking to replicate the success they had at Pictona earlier this year at March’s Red Clay Hot Sauce Florida Open, where they took silver. Johnson (playing with Meghan Dizon) and Stratman (playing with Allyce Jones) are both partnering up with Top Ten women’s doubles players and will need to come away with good results - and hope for early exits from Schneemann and Kawamoto - to earn bids to San Clemente.
There’s only one spot in men’s doubles that hasn’t been claimed yet, and Dekel Bar has a strong chance to end up with it. That being said, Callan Dawson and Tyler Loong both still have an outside chance to overtake him with a run to Championship Sunday after making the quarterfinals at Nationals. Dawson took down No. 6 seeds Tyson McGuffin and Andrei Daescu alongside Hayden Patriquin in the Round of 16, and Loong and partner James Ignatowich pushed the Johns brothers in a five-game battle that gave the No. 1 seeds their toughest match of the tournament. Dawson is running it back with Patriquin, and Loong is joining forces with DJ Young in Florida. The two teams will face off if they both win their first-round matches on Saturday.
Women’s singles is the one draw that is virtually set in stone before play even begins at Pictona. Lauren Stratman occupies the final spot, and the only player with enough points to catch her is Yana Newell, who is not registered to compete this week.
Pablo Tellez sits in the final qualifying spot in men’s singles, but both Jaume Martinez Vich and Dylan Frazier are right on his tail. The red-hot Martinez Vich is on the heels of a Championship Sunday run at Nationals that netted him a silver medal in men’s singles and included a victory over Tellez in three games. Another matchup between the two at Pictona would certainly have massive implications for San Clemente, and we’ll get to see one on Thursday if they both win their first-round matches. Tellez will be motivated to avoid losing to the Spaniard for the second time in two weeks, especially because Pictona is where he captured his first PPA singles medal with a bronze back in March.
Women's Mixed Doubles
This is by far the closest race ahead of Holly Hill. Lucy Kovalova and Lauren Stratman occupy the last two qualifying spots, and Kovalova is pretty much safe in the No. 7 slot with 875 points separating her and Stratman. The gap tightens from there, though, because there are just 25 points separating Stratman in the No. 8 slot and the first two players behind her in Lea Jansen and Callie Jo Smith. While Jansen didn’t play at Nationals, both Stratman and Smith suffered first round defeats. All three will be looking to book their ticket to San Clemente with a run at Pictona, knowing that even a single match could be the difference in who qualifies and who doesn’t. If both Jansen and Smith win their first-round matches with their partners on Friday, a match with monumental implications for San Clemente awaits.
Men's Mixed Doubles
Seven out of the eight spots for mixed doubles on the men’s side are already taken, and tour veteran Matt Wright is holding down the last spot. Only Julian Arnold has a shot - albeit a small one - to catch him, as he would need to come away with at least a silver medal and hope for an early exit from Wright and Kovalova to qualify for San Clemente. Arnold will be competing alongside his off-court partner Lauren Stratman, who also needs a good run at Pictona to hold off Lea Jansen and Callie Jo Smith on the women’s side.
Look for tensions to be high right from the jump in Holly Hill.
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