In-game adjustments prove key in gender doubles

In-game adjustments prove key in gender doubles

SAN CLEMENTE, CA - Gender doubles Saturday featured some close matches all day long, with over half of the group play matches going to a decisive third game.

Oftentimes with matches this close, small tactical changes and in-game adjustments can be the difference-maker.

The same rang true Saturday as well.

In their first match against Meghan Dizon and Jorja Johnson, Jessie Irvine and Lacy Schneemann endured the worst start imaginable, losing game 1 by a score of 0-11.

Going into game two with nothing to lose, the pair switched sides to have Irvine playing the left and Schneemann on the typically more defensive right side.

This change had two main effects.

First, it allowed Irvine to control the pace of play on the left side with her cut dink backhand, which she considers to be one of her best shots because of how difficult it is to attack.

It also made it so that Dizon and Johnson had to adjust to a different look, which can make it difficult to maintain momentum.

“Sometimes, certain teams have gameplans in their head and then when you switch formations, it can confuse them because they can be set in a certain kind of combo or pattern,” Irvine explained.

Making this change and showing a different look helped the MLP teammates take game 2 by a score of 11-2 and then pull out the win 12-10 in the third.

These tactical changes also played a role in the men’s matches.

Riley Newman and Thomas Wilson began their day with a tough matchup against JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier.

They dropped the first game 7-11 with Newman playing the left side, so they switched to get Wilson on the left side for a few points. This change, along with switching sides every few points to change the patterns they showed to their opponents, allowed Newman and Wilson to win game two 11-9 and close out the match with an emphatic 11-1 win in game 3.

Newman credited his partner’s ability to play both sides as one of the reasons that he picked to play with him for this event.

“That’s the benefit of playing with Thomas,” he explained. “He’s so versatile—he can play both sides equally well, which makes him dangerous.”

Newman and Wilson carried the momentum from this victory all the way through to the semifinals, where they faced off against Matt Wright and James Ignatowich.

Newman and Wright played together for a year and half and were one of the top teams on tour before Newman ended the pairing in June, so this matchup had a little more weighing on it than just a trip to the finals.

Wright had gotten the better of Newman in mixed doubles on Friday, causing his old partner to miss the semifinals, but it was Newman and Wilson who prevailed Saturday night, 11-7, 11-8.

“I probably needed this one for my sanity,” Newman joked.

Ben and Collin Johns await Newman and Wilson in Sunday’s final. The top seeded team were sharp when they needed to be and dispatched Federico Staskrud and Pablo Tellez 11-5, 11-1 in the semis in a brutally clinical performance.

In the one time they squared off at PPA Cincinnati, the Johns brothers had to come back from a game down to get past Newman and Wilson in the semis. We’ll see if another close match awaits in round 2.

The women’s final features the top two seeds of Anna Leigh Waters and Catherine Parenteau facing Anna Bright and Vivienne David on Championship Sunday.

In a rematch of the women’s doubles final in Holly Hill a few weeks ago, Waters and Parenteau moved past Callie Smith and Lucy Kovalova 11-6, 11-5.

Bright and David bested Allyce Jones and Etta Wright 11-4, 11-4 in the semis to set a rematch of the semifinals of February’s Desert Ridge Open that Waters and Parenteau won 11-3, 11-4.

If Waters and Parenteau win, they will finish out the year undefeated as a duo in women’s doubles.