Rachel Rohrabacher and Anna Bright competing on the PPA Tour during the 2024 season.
Rachel Rohrabacher and Anna Bright competing on the PPA Tour this season. PPA Tour

Previewing the PPA Veolia Sacramento Open

The next stop on the PPA tour is in Sacramento this week, beginning Wednesday from the Life Time Roseville. The event features a number of new partnerships, and some interesting continuing ones. It will be interesting to see how some of the new pairings stand up.

Let’s go through each bracket, point out the highlights, and make a few predictions.
1. Women’s singles
As usual, Anna Leigh Waters and Catherine Parenteau are seeded first and second. We will see how ALW bounces back from being upset in the semis at last week’s CIBC Texas Open. When she does (rarely) lose, ALW typically bounces back with a gold, so that would be the smart bet this week. ALW does face a tougher than usual draw. She is likely to face #8 seed Parris Todd in the quarters and potentially #3 seed Lea Jansen (last week’s gold medalist) in the semis. One early match worth watching will be the expected round of 16 match between #7 Brooke Buckner against #10 Kaitlyn Christian. Overall, I have to pick ALW for the gold in this one.
2. Men’s singles
Ben Johns takes the week off from singles, so Federico Staksrud takes over the #1 seed. The draw did him no favors though as he will probably face #13 Hayden Patriquin in the round of 16 and potentially #7 Jack Sock in the quarters. Both Patriquin and Sock are capable of beating anyone in any given match. Two players who got favorable draws and could make deep runs are #4 Jaume Martinez Vich and #6 Quang Duong. For a very interesting early match, check out the round of 64 match between #17 Gabe Tardio and #41 Noe Khlif. That match will feature a ton of athleticism and shot-making, and is guaranteed to be worth the price of admission. For a prediction, I will take a shot at Quang Duong to win his first singles gold.
3. Mixed doubles
The top seed and favorite this week is Ben Johns/Anna Leigh Waters. They have a reasonable draw and will be tough to beat. James Ignatowich returns to mixed doubles to pair up again with Anna Bright as the #2 seed. Their bottom side of the draw is not easy. An expected quarterfinal match in the bottom half likely matches #3 seed Thomas Wilson/Vivienne David against #5 seed Riley Newman/Etta Wright. The Newman/Wright pairing is brand new, and on paper appears to be a powerful combination. We will have to see if Newman is rusty, as he has not played a pro event since MLP Atlanta. For an early match on the “must see” list is the expected round of 16 matchup between #6 Federico Staksrud/Rachel Rohrabacher and #10 Jack Sock/Catherine Parenteau. I have been touting Staksrud/Rohrabacher as the next really good mixed pair and they did break through to the semis last time out. They will be tested early in this draw. For a winner, I have to go with the #1 seed, especially as they have a favorable draw.
4. Women’s doubles
At the top of the seeding board are #1 seed ALW/CP and #2 seed Anna Bright/Rachel Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher took last week off and AB made the semis with Kate Fahey. Those two top seeds look to be on a collision course for the finals. There are a number of new/different partnerships worth watching. At #4 is Callie Smith/Alix Truong, a pair with a natural left and right side player. Similarly, #5 seed Andrea Koop/Jessie Irvine makes sense. Koop in particular has been playing well lately. The #6 seed is the MLP partnership of Parris Todd/Vivienne David. This pair will have the continued problem that both players are better on the right than the left. The #8 seed is Lea Jansen/Vivian Glozman. Both have been playing well; Glozman is best on the left and Jansen has been playing more right side, so this pair can be effective. Their main problem is that they are likely to face ALW/CP in the quarters. Finally, the #10 seed is the new pairing of Lauren Stratman/Kaitlyn Christian. This is an interesting pair of two fine players but again they will face the issue of who plays which side. I would put Stratman on the right, as she has the better forehand roll, an essential shot for a right side player. For a winner, again you have to go with the top seed.
5. Men’s singles
The last event discussed is the one with the most interesting story lines. Collin Johns sits this one out, so the top seed goes to last week’s champs, Dylan Frazier/JW Johnson. Ben Johns grabs James Ignatowich and they get a #2 seed. Ignatowich normally plays the left side, but he has excellent right side skills. Watch how he will slide right and counter with his backhand. He is very good at that shot. There are a lot of new/newish pairs in this draw. Following the Staksrud/Tellez breakup, Staksrud goes with Hayden Patriquin at #4 this week, while Tellez plays with Jaume Martinez Vich as the #5 seed. Patriquin will be forced to play right side, which is out of position for him. Tellez/JMV makes a lot of sense and they should mesh well. The #6 seed is the super interesting pair of Gabe Tardio and Riley Newman. Tardio has had a lot of success playing right side next to Andrei Daescu and should play well with Newman. The #7 seed is Tyler Loong/Connor Garnett, who should play well together. At #8, Jack Sock moves on from Collin Shick (as I had predicted) and pairs with Thomas Wilson. Wilson can play an excellent right side, allowing Sock to play a power game from the left. Sock has not had good results in men’s doubles,  and that could be attributed to his not playing with a top 20 partner. Now, paired with Wilson, he does not have that excuse. It will be interesting to see how far the Sock/Wilson pair can go. Ironically, Sock/Wilson will likely face the #9 seed in the round of 16, the new pair of Pat Smith and Collin Shick. Sock/Wilson would be a big favorite in that one, but will Shick have some extra motivation? Finally, keep an eye on one longshot, #22 Quang Duong/Noe Khlif. Duong and Khlif are a complete contrast in styles. Duong never met a drive he didn’t like, while Khlif has some of the best touch shots and angles in the game. Will that contrast lead to success? 
For a winner, I have to go with #2 seed Johns/Ignatowich. Ben with anyone is tough; with Ignatowich on the right, a position he can play extremely well, I see them as a solid favorite.
Hopefully, the PPA tour can have a rain-free week. The potential matchups this week are really good and we have some fascinating pairings. Jack Sock returns and he is always must see TV.

If you live in or near Sacramento, check out the tournament in person. There is nothing to compare to seeing the pros up close.
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