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HomeUSA Pickleball NewsPPA Tour NewsThrilling Action at the PPA Tour Stop in San Clemente

Thrilling Action at the PPA Tour Stop in San Clemente

PPA Tour Stop in San Clemente: The latest stop on the PPA Tour brought us to the picturesque setting of San Clemente, California, and it did not disappoint. Perfect weather and a well-structured draw led to some of the most thrilling pickleball we’ve seen all year. Here are the highlights from this standout event.

San Clemente, with its unbeatable weather and stunning views, set the stage for an unforgettable tournament. The venue is easily walkable, offering great sightlines for fans from both the grandstand and showcase courts. The Humana Championship Court, in particular, was a gem. If there’s any critique, it’s that the championship court needs more stands; it was standing room only all weekend. The good news? The PPA Finals in December are also in San Clemente. If you can only attend one PPA event, make it this one.

The Player Hits:

Anna Leigh Waters Dominates

Anna Leigh Waters was, once again, the star of the show. Her triple crown victory highlighted her unmatched dominance, especially in singles and women’s doubles. In the women’s singles semifinals, Judit Castillo played well but could only manage six points in two games against Waters. Even in mixed doubles, where the Johnson siblings had six match points, Waters and Ben Johns proved unbeatable. Waters’ resilience in tight game situations is a testament to her skills.

Chris Haworth’s Impressive Run

In men’s singles, Chris Haworth emerged as a deserving champion. He defeated Ben Johns in the semifinal and then Federico Staksrud in the final, both in three games. Beating two top players back-to-back is no small feat, and Haworth’s performance earned him a well-deserved gold medal. His presence on the tour promises to make men’s singles even more competitive.

Hayden Patriquin’s Rising Star

Hayden Patriquin continued his impressive streak with a silver in men’s doubles alongside Pablo Tellez and a fourth-place finish in mixed doubles with Vivian Glozman. Patriquin’s consistent Sunday appearances suggest he could be a future contender for the top spot, possibly dethroning Ben Johns. His potential is evident, and he’s one to watch in upcoming tournaments.

Offense Takes Center Stage

There’s a noticeable shift in pickleball tactics. Defensive play, once dominant, is now being overshadowed by aggressive offense. Players are favoring drives, quick points from smashes, and successful speedups. The evolution of more powerful paddles has significantly contributed to this trend. In San Clemente, it was clear that players who couldn’t generate offense were at a disadvantage. Expect more on this trend in future columns.

The Vulcan Ball Shines

The newly redesigned Vulcan V Pro Flight ball made its mark in San Clemente. After a lukewarm debut in Sacramento due to the heat, the ball proved its worth here. It stayed round, bounced consistently, and offered a fair game for all players. The pros appreciated its performance, noting it was a bit slower than a Dura but faster than a Franklin. With advanced paddles in play, a slower ball is crucial, leading to longer rallies and more exciting matches.

Depth of the Draws

The depth of the draws continues to impress. Men’s singles, in particular, saw 124 players in the qualifier, with five out of eight qualifiers winning at least one main draw match. Every round of 16 matches could have easily been a final, showcasing the increasing competitiveness of the sport. Reaching the quarterfinals in any event is now a significant achievement.

PPA Tour Stop in San Clemente

Player Courtesy Shines

The courtesy of pro pickleball players is noteworthy. This time, Ben Johns stood out. After his win in the singles bronze match, he could have taken a well-deserved break. Instead, when a fan tentatively asked for an autograph, Johns stayed and signed for every fan in line, over 20 people, with a smile on his face. Being a great player is one thing; being a good ambassador for the sport is another. Kudos to Ben for his patience and dedication to the fans.

The PPA Tour’s next event is the Selkirk Kansas City Open on August 7. With the high bar set by San Clemente, we eagerly anticipate the second half of the 2024 season and the exciting pickleball it will bring.

News in Brief: PPA Tour Stop in San Clemente

The PPA Tour stop in San Clemente, California, delivered thrilling pickleball action. Anna Leigh Waters dominated, securing a triple crown and showcasing her unmatched skills. Chris Haworth impressed by defeating top players Ben Johns and Federico Staksrud in men’s singles.

Rising star Hayden Patriquin continued to shine, securing silver in men’s doubles and a strong finish in mixed doubles. The tournament highlighted a shift towards aggressive offense, with powerful paddles enhancing play. The new Vulcan V Pro Flight ball performed excellently, contributing to exciting, longer rallies. San Clemente’s venue, despite needing more seating, provided a stunning backdrop. As the tour moves to the Selkirk Kansas City Open, expectations are high for more top-tier pickleball.

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