Ben Johns hits a backhand.
Ben Johns competing at the Vizzy Atlanta Open. PPA Tour

Johns downs Staksrud for fourth singles title of 2024

PEACHTREE CORNERS, GA - When most people think of streaks in men’s singles, Federico Staksrud’s run of ten consecutive singles finals comes to mind.

But another streak continues to develop on Championship Sunday when Staksrud squares off against Ben Johns.

Johns is now 4-0 against the Argentine in gold medal singles matches in 2024 after an 11-3, 11-7 victory early Sunday afternoon.

The 124-time PPA gold medalist found his highest level of the tournament and was especially sharp on his third shots.

“I felt like my third ball striking was the best it’s been in a while,” he said. “When you have that, the points tend to get a lot easier.”

One key component of his third shot success was his commitment to hitting two-handed backhand drives, something he hasn’t been known to do throughout his illustrious career.

“I’d say that shot is one of the weaker parts of my game, so anything that’s weak I’m normally working on,” Johns explained. “I feel like the recent weeks of training that shot definitely paid off in this tournament.”

Sunday marked the first meeting between the two heavyweights since Staksrud replaced Johns as the top-ranked men’s singles player in the PPA rankings.

Though Johns says he doesn’t think too much about the number next to his name, he appreciates the challenge that the shift in rankings brings.

“I think the more that players push me, the better player I’ll become,” he said. “I really enjoy that and think it’s great for the sport.”

In the bronze medal match, Christian Alshon took down Tyson McGuffin for the second consecutive tournament by an 11-13, 11-7, 11-9 score line.