Federico Staksrud and Pablo Tellez competing at The Masters on Friday.

Staksrud and Tellez, Devilliers and Smith earn semifinals spots in men’s doubles

PALM SPRINGS, CA - Friday evening featured some enticing men’s doubles matches, with the victors clinching well-earned spots in Saturday’s semifinals.

In the early evening on Grandstand Court, No. 5 seeds Federico Staskrud and Pablo Tellez took on No. 3 seeds James Ignatowich and Matt Wright.

Staksrud and Tellez came into their own as a force to be reckoned with in men’s doubles last year, securing five medals together.

Experts at long dink rallies at the kitchen line, the Argentine and Columbian struggled to deal with their opponents’ aggressive style of play initially, but eventually settled in.

“They didn’t let us play our game too much, so it took a while to get used to their speed” explained Tellez. “I think once we got used to that, we were able to get into the rallies and patterns that we want to be in.”

Sticking to their strengths and being selective about when they countered speedups, Staksrud and Tellez rallied for a 6-11, 11-7, 11-6 victory.

They will take on No. 1 seeds Ben and Collin Johns in the semifinals on Saturday.

A little later on Humana Championship Court, Jay Devilliers and Pat Smith took on the No. 2 seeds JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier.

It was a tall task for the No. 8 seeds, who were playing in only their second tournament since capturing ten medals together in 2021 and 2022.

But it was one that the pair were prepared for early, taking Game 1 11-2.

Johnson and Frazier came to play in the second game, though, and jumped out to a 9-3 lead.

Trying to avoid getting sucked into the long dink rallies that their opponents wanted to play, Smith and Devilliers raced back to steal Game 2 13-11 and continue their deep run in Palm Springs.

“Beating No. 2 seed is obviously a huge upset, but we’re very excited, and we believe we belong here,” Devilliers said. “It was whoever wanted it more, and I felt like tonight we just wanted it more.”

Great friends off the court as well, the pair are quick to acknowledge the role that their friendship away from pickleball plays in their success.

“We know each other’s games so well, and we’ve always been phenomenal friends,” Smith shared. “It makes it a lot easier out there.”

Devilliers and Smith will next face No. 4 seeds Riley Newman and Thomas Wilson in the semifinals.