Federico Staksrud competing on the PPA Tour during the 2024 season.
Federico Staksrud competing on the PPA Tour during the 2024 season. PPA Tour

Looking ahead to PPA Atlanta

PPA Atlanta begins today. Players only get a short break after MLP Atlanta. It will be interesting to see if fatigue becomes a factor. For players who played several Sunday matches and then play singles, doubles, and mixed at PPA, it will be a lot of pickleball.
Players like Federico Staksrud, JW Johnson, Jorja Johnson, and Tyson McGuffin are some players to watch to see if they are affected by the amount of play.
1. Men’s singles
For the first time in a long time, Ben Johns is playing singles and is not the #1 seed, Federico Staksrud gets the #1 seed, but no one has an easy draw. Staksrud looks likely to face Aanik Lohani in the round of 16 and then Jaume Martinez Vich in the quarters; no easy task. For Ben Johns, he looks to face #13 Gabe Joseph in the round of 16, then the winner of #6 JW Johnson against #9 Quong Duong. We have already seen that Ben often has trouble in early rounds when he faces players with an aggressive tennis style. The draw is filled with great singles players; another likely round of 16 match is #5 Christian Alshon against #10 Jack Sock. Every player making the round of 16 in this one will have a chance to win it all.
2. Women’s singles
The usual suspects return after a layoff, with #1 Anna Leigh Waters and #2 Catherine Parenteau looking like solid choices to make the final. But, the draw has a lot of experienced singles players. The round of 16 and quarters are likely to feature such tough matchups as #4 Lea Jansen against #5 Judit Castillo; #3 Mary Brascia v #13 Jorja Johnson; and, #7 Salome Davidze v #11 Kaitlyn Christian. A number of these lower seeds have enjoyed success and making it to the podium with ALW and CP not being in the draw. Can any of them pull the upset and get to the finals when the two best are playing?
3. Men’s doubles
Ben and Collin Johns have the #1 seed, but a difficult draw. They potentially will face #8 seed Andrei Daescu/Gabe Tardio in the quarters. Daescu/Tardio defeated the Johns last time out. Can they do it two in a row? The #2 seed is JW Johnson/Dylan Frazier. They have a somewhat easier draw than the Johns, but look to be tested by #22 Jack Sock/Collin Shick in the round of 16. The draw will feature some new partnerships, that have high seeds. The #3 seed is Fede Staksrud and Matt Wright. They will have a very interesting match in the round of 16 against #15 Jack Munro/Julian Arnold. The last time Munro/Arnold teamed up, they made a nice run at Desert Ridge. James Ignatowich, after moving on from Matt Wright, now picks up Staksrud’s old partner, Pablo Tellez, and they get a #4 seed. They will likely take on #5 seed Tyson McGuffin/Dekel Bar in what would be a must see match. For a couple of lower seeds to watch, keep an eye on #29 Will Howells/CJ Klinger, who are two of the best young players in the game. Howells/Klinger will likely face Staksrud/Wright in the round of 32; don’t be shocked if the youngsters win that one.
4. Women’s doubles
ALW/CP return to defend their many gold medals as the #1 seed. They appear to have a relatively easy draw, so expect them to make the final. The #2 seed is Rachel Rohrabacher/Anna Bright. They will be tested by #5 seed Tyra Black/Vivienne David, who should mesh well together. Callie Smith and Lucy Kovalova continue to play apart, as previously predicted. Smith is playing with Lea Jansen as the #4 seed. Kovalova plays with Parris Todd as the #6 seed. The Smith/Jansen combo would look to have better chemistry.  A couple of pairs to watch are #7 Tina Pisnik/Jessie Irvine and #12 Jorja Johnson/Mari Humberg. Those teams are likely to play each other in the round of 16; the winner could well make at least the semis. For a longshot, keep an eye on #20 Alix Truong/Jill Braverman. Both have been playing well, but their success may be limited by the fact both are better on the right side.
5. Mixed doubles
The final event is mixed doubles. ALW/Ben get the #1 seed and are the favorites of course to win it all. But, they have a difficult draw. Vivienne David/Thomas Wilson have the #2 seed and an easier path to the final.  Interestingly, there are a lot of teams seeded 10 or lower who will surprise no one by making a big run. Seeded #10 are Lea Jansen/Hayden Patriquin; they appear to have a good path to the quarters, at least. Seeded #12 is Jack Sock/Catherine Parenteau; that is a combo that can beat anyone, although they have not been very successful to date. At #13, Andrei Daescu is playing with Meghan Dizon. That should be a tough team, although Dizon appears to still be fighting the illness that made her miss a couple of events. The #14 seed is Etta Wright/Tyler Loong. Wright has had a lot of success in mixed, with a variety of partners.  She should mesh well with Loong. Finally, the #19 seed is Christian Alshon/Vivian Glozman. Glozman has been playing well, and Alshon has been solid; they are a team that could surprise.
The Atlanta PPA event will be filled with great matches. Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters will be there and will look to dominate. But, domination is a tough task with so many great players in the draw. If you are in or near Atlanta, go to the event and enjoy it in person. For the rest of us, there will be a lot of must see TV all week.
Follow me on Twitter/X @pickleball_jim


© 2024 Pickleball TopCo LLC, All Rights Reserved.