Catherine Parenteau and Anna Leigh Waters competing in Atlanta this season.
Catherine Parenteau and Anna Leigh Waters competing in Atlanta this season. PPA Tour

Looking ahead to the CIBC Texas Open powered by TIXR

Next up on the PPA Tour is the CIBC Texas Open powered by TIXR.

The draw is traditional format.

Let’s take a look at each draw and the interesting stories this week.
1. Women’s Doubles
The #1 seed goes to Anna Leigh Waters and Catherine Parenteau. The question this week, as it is every week, is whether anyone can challenge them. The #2 seed is Etta Wright/Meghan Dizon. Hopefully, Dizon is back to 100%. When Wright/Dizon are healthy, they are hard to beat, at least until they meet up with ALW/CP. Wright/Dizon have a very reasonable draw, so a Wright/Dizon v ALW/CP final would not be surprising. Rachel Rohrabacher is taking the week off, so Anna Bright gets the #4 seed with partner Kate Fahey. Bright and Fahey play together in MLP, and it will be interesting to see them in a PPA format. They are likely to get tested as early as the round of 16, when they may face Bobbi Oshiro/Milan Rane. The team of Jade Kawamoto/Andrea Koop earn the #5 seed, thanks in part to their strong performance at PPA Atlanta. Kawamoto/Koop are likely to face ALW/CP in the quarterfinals, a rematch of the Atlanta final.
2. Men’s Doubles
In men’s doubles, the Johns brothers earn the #1 seed, but the draw has done them no favors. There are several new pairings this week, too. Seeded #3 are James Ignatowich/Federico Staksrud. They will be a dangerous team. I suspect Fede will play the left side. Ignatowich is most often seen on the left, where he uses his long wingspan and power to dominate the middle. But, Ignatowich can play a very good right side as well. He is very skilled at sliding right, and countering with his backhand. Look for that shot this week. Another new pair is #6 seed Julian Arnold/Pablo Tellez. Arnold and Tellez should match up well together, as Arnold plays a strong left side, and Tellez is a pure right side player. They should have an interesting quarterfinal match, if all goes as expected, against #12 seed AJ Koller/Noe Khlif. Khlif is a strong up and coming player. He was a top junior tennis player, who has adapted well to pickleball, although he is still fairly new to the game. Khlif will be a top 20 player before long, and is someone to watch. The #2 seed is JW Johnson/Dylan Frazier. They appear to have a fairly smooth road to a possible final.
3. Mixed Doubles
The #1 seed in mixed doubles is Ben Johns/Anna Leigh Waters. One interesting possible match for them is a potential round of 16 match against Collin Johns/Andrea Koop. The #2 seed is the steady pair of Thomas Wilson/Vivienne David. They have a reasonably easy draw and a trip to the finals would appear to be in the cards. James Ignatowich is taking this event off, so Anna Bright pairs with Tyson McGuffin as the #3 seed. There are a number of other interesting pairings. For a couple of longer shots, the #17 seed is Pablo Tellez/Lacy Schneemann and the #27 seed is Hunter Johnson/Parris Todd. Schneemann is better on the left, so playing with Tellez should help her. Johnson played very well at MLP Atlanta and he and Todd are much better than their seed would indicate. They are likely to run into #5 seed Dekel Bar/Tina Pisnik in what would be a very good round of 32 matchup.
4. Women's’ Singles
The top 4 seeds are, in order, ALW, CP, Lea Jansen, and Salome Davidze. It is quite possible that all four will make the semifinals, as this draw looks like it will be chalk. It is hard to find an upset in this draw, or a lower seed likely to break through. Maybe #8 seed Kaitlyn Christian? Women’s singles has been dominated by the top seeds this year and it looks unlikely to change this week.
5. Men’s Singles
Ben Johns regains the top seed this week, and has been rewarded with a kind draw.  He does not have any matchups with tennis-oriented players, the type who have created upsets in early rounds of prior tournaments. Federico Staksrud gets the #2 seed and looks to make his 11th straight final. There are a couple of early round matches that will provide entertaining pickleball. In the first round, #18 Gabe Tardio draws #47 seed James Ignatowich. Ignatowich rarely plays singles, thus the low seed. But, his game is quite suitable for singles, especially with his big serve and power, so look for Ignatowich to make a run. Another fascinating first round match is #22 Chris Haworth v #42 Noe Khlif. Haworth has great power and reach, while the smaller Khlif has tremendous finesse and quickness. This match will have a great contrast in styles. Haworth will play more of a tennis-like game while Khlif will play a game that looks like pickleball doubles; lots of chips, dinks, and drops. Hopefully, this match will be on a televised court as it will be one of the most entertaining matches of the entire week.
Finally, one item worth noting is the presence in the men’s doubles draw of tennis great John Isner. Isner got as high as #8 in the world in tennis. He has dabbled in pickleball at the pro level, but it will be interesting to see him playing in a PPA event, as that is the top end of the pro game. Isner along with Wyatt Stone is seeded #19 in men’s doubles. They have a very reasonable draw. Will Isner be more like Jack Sock or Sam Querrey when it comes to pickleball? All three were top tennis pros, but Sock has adapted his game more readily to pickleball and has had much more success than Querrey. Isner at 6’10” was a serve and volley tennis player, traits that typically do not translate to pickleball. It will be fascinating to see if Isner can adapt to the pro pickleball world. My guess is that he will be good, but not great; more like Querrey, not Sock. But it will be fun to watch!
Tune in beginning Thursday to see the great action at the CIBC Texas Open on the PPA Tour.
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