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A pivotal portion of a match is often during a high-scoring game when both teams have game point opportunities.

For example, “Team A” is losing 11-10-2, and is receiving serve. “Team A” hits a winner to successfully defend that game point and earn a side-out. “Team A,” now serving 10-11-1, goes on to win the game 13-11. It is a classic example of “snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.” (For the other team, it is a “punch in the gut.”)

This situation has happened in 20 PPA gold medal doubles matches in the past 12 months. When “Team A” successfully defended one or more game points before winning that game, they also won their match 19 times out of 20. That’s 95 percent.

The only time a team overcame that “punch in the gut” and rallied back to win the title was in Austin in March, accomplished by Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns.

Only three teams have accomplished this more than once in gold medal matches in the past year. Lucy Kovalova and Callie Smith have defended a game point and come back to win the game and the match three times. Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns have also done this together three times. In men’s doubles, Ben and Collin Johns lead everyone with seven victories of this nature. Seventeen different players make up the list of ten teams to do it.

The ability to stay cool under pressure and defend a possible game point, then seize that new opportunity to win that game (and the match!) is a trait that the top teams and elite players possess. Keep an eye out for this situation the next time you are watching a PPA championship match!

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