Ben Johns hits a pickleball backhand.
Ben Johns competing at the Veolia Austin Open in March. PPA Tour

Johns sets finals clash with Staksrud

CARY, NC - For the third time in his past three tournaments, Ben Johns will play for singles gold.

He took down No. 5 seed Christian Alshon 6-11, 11-7, 11-5 on a windy Saturday morning at Cary Tennis Park.

Like he did in his quarterfinal match against Quang Duong, Johns dropped the first game on what he called “the bad side”—the side where he had to hit into the wind.

But the top seed evened things up on the good side with the wind at his back to force a decider.

Knowing he would start Game 3 back on the bad side, Johns knew that he needed to get off to a strong start.

“The most important thing was getting to six or at least a good number of points early in Game 3 so that I could go into the good side with some momentum,” he said.

That’s exactly what he did, jumping out to a 6-2 as the players switched sides.

Johns would go on to close out the match from there to book his spot on Championship Sunday.

He’ll face No. 2 seed Federico Staksrud, who beat Connor Garnett earlier on Saturday, for the men’s singles title.