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Draw Reveal: FANATICS SPORTSBOOK NORTH CAROLINA CUP

Author: Andrew Gilman | March 27, 2024

The Fanatics Sportsbook North Carolina Cup is kicking off on April 1st and the professional draws for all five divisions of play have officially been released. It’s time to dive into the excitement!

As players gear up for intense battles on the court, we invite you to join in the thrill and share your result predictions on social media. To tune into all the action, see the full broadcast schedule and visit PPA TV on Youtube. Tournament results, updates, and pickleball news are made in real time via the PPA Tour Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, so follow us there to stay in the loop!

Mens Doubles

  • The favorite: It’s hard to believe Ben and Collin Johns haven’t been on the medal stand since January, but that’s certainly the case as the brothers have been beaten in the past two tournaments they’ve entered. No matter. They are still the No. 1 seed and still the favorites heading into North Carolina. 
  • Team to watch: Collin Shick and Jack Sock. The pair doesn’t even get a bye into the round of 32, so they’ll have an extra match to play and will be the No. 18 seed. However, they will be the local favorites, as both of them train out of Charlotte, about two hours away and both will have a sizable home-court advantage. Meanwhile, it’s not like the two are just some random players. Both Sock and Shick have had success on tour – Sock won mixed doubles at this stop a year ago with Anna Leigh Waters in mixed doubles, so expect them to get out of the first round where they will be up against a qualifier team and into the round of 32 where they would face Rafa Hewett and Patrick Kawka, the No. 11 seeded team.
  • Wildcard: Truly, the biggest of wildcards, and by big, we’re talking 6-foot-9 inches tall, is Tyler Hansbrough. The former University of North Carolina and NBA player is in the field. He and partner Hartland Jones are the No. 34 seed. Hard to say Tyson McGuffin is ever a wildcard, but it’s tough to predict how McGuffin will fare in North Carolina. He and partner Dekel Bar are the No. 4 seed. McGuffin is coming off a foot injury and will be playing for the first time in the past three tournaments. Also, James Ignatowich, who has missed the past few tournaments with an injury, is back in the field, teaming up with Matt Wright. They will be the No. 2 seed. Wright and partner Andrei Daescu won gold in Austin in the last PPA Tour stop.
  • Prediction: No one is on more of a heater than Christian Alshon. He and partner Thomas Wilson are the No. 5 seed. They won gold in Minnesota and Alshon and Zane Navratil won bronze last time out in Austin, including a win against the Johns brothers. It won’t be easy, though. Wilson and Alshon are on the same side of the bracket as the Johns brothers as well as Bar and McGuffin. This is a loaded field, but Wilson provides the consistency and firepower and Alshon is playing as well as anybody in the game. Expect the two to earn their second gold in a row together.

Womens Doubles

  • The favorite: This one is up for debate. Anna Leigh Waters and Catherine Parenteau lost for the first time as a team, and while they are the No. 1 seed in North Carolina, there’s a question about which team should be considered the favorite. Rachel Rohrabacher and Anna Bright are coming off the historic win and will be the No. 2 seed, and Bright is coming off a pair of gold medals, having won mixed with Daescu and gold with Rohrabacher last time out in Austin.
  • Team to watch: The No. 3 seeded team of Meghan Dizon and Etta Wright absolutely have the firepower to keep up with either of the top two seeded teams. They have medaled three times this year already and have finished runner-up to Parenteau and Waters twice.  Dizon and Wright are on the same side of the bracket as Waters and Parenteau and could potentially meet in a must-watch semifinal.
  • Wildcard: Lots to think about here as Lucy Kovalova and Callie Smith will not be playing together, which is a rarity. Smith and Lea Jansen are together as the No. 5 seed and Kovalova and Jackie Kawamoto are together as the No. 4 seed. Those teams could face off in the quarterfinals. Parris Todd and Tyra Black, who have a medal together this season, are lurking as the No. 9 seed at the bottom of the bracket. Also, keep an eye on No. 6 seed Lacy Schneemann and Vivienne David. They could see Rohrabacher and Bright in a quarterfinal match and could certainly end up with a victory there.  
  • Prediction: Expect Waters and Parenteau to be focused, coming off their first defeat, but I’m taking Bright and Rohrabacher to make it two in a row. No team is playing better.

Mixed Doubles

  • The favorite: This has to be considered one of the best, if not the best field of the year with two teams that have already one gold, and Bright, who has won gold with a different partner. For the first time in 30 gold medal matches, Ben Johns and Waters weren’t victorious, but the two have to be considered the favorite heading into North Carolina. They have been too good for too long. Ignatowich is back from injury and he’ll team with long-time partner Bright and the two are No. 2 seed. If Bright continues to play at her extremely high level, it would not be surprising at all to see her and Ignatowich taking on Waters and Johns in the final.
  • Team to watch: Take your pick. So may teams with so much potential to make their way through this bracket, including a handful of double-digit seeded teams like Federico Staksrud and Rohrabacher (10), Todd and Julian Arnold (14), Tina Pisnik and Bar (13) and Alshon and Kawamoto (15). 
  • Wildcard: Hayden Patriquin seems ready for a massive breakthrough, and he and Lea Jansen appear to be close. Patriquin has medaled twice this season, once with Callan Dawson on the men’s side and another time with Jansen in mixed doubles. They are an extremely dangerous No. 9 seed. 
  • Prediction: This is going to be a wild tournament in mixed doubles, with all of the game’s top players competing and healthy – including McGuffin, who will team up with Dizon, as well as Ignatowich. It would be an upset if Waters and Johns don’t win. It would also be considered an upset if Bright and Ignatowich don’t reach the final, or win. But that’s what’s going to happen. David and Wilson are the No. 3 seed and have already won a gold this season, beating Rohrabacher and Federico Staksrud in the Indoor Championships in Minnesota, and they also already won a silver, finishing runner-up to Waters and Johns at Mesa. They’ll get their second gold this time around.

Mens Singles

  • The favorite: Johns is back. Well, it’s not like he really went anywhere, but after a pair of tournaments where he didn’t win gold, the men’s singles field appeared to tighten up. But Johns is still at the top. He won gold on his birthday in Austin and has won twice on tour this year. 
  • Player to watch: Nine players have medaled in the five events so far this season, but only Staksrud has been on the medal stand for every event. In fact, he’s been on center court on Championship Sunday for all five events, going 2-3 in those gold medal matches this season. No one has been more consistent. Staksrud is the No. 2 seed, but he’s the closest thing to a sure thing to reach a final in 2024.
  • Wildcard: Would you consider Sock, an 11-seed, with possibly the game’s best forehand, to be a wildcard? Maybe. He’s medaled once this season, a bronze in the season’s first event. What about sixth-seeded Jaume Martinez-Vich? He medaled three times last year and has a silver this year. Martinez-Vich could face Sock in the round of 16. A true wildcard is lingering in the round of 64. There’s Ryan Sherry, tennis star Donald Young. There’s Ignatowich, as a dangerous No. 37 seed, there’s A.J. Koller and Tyler Loong, both of whom have won big matches. But check out the newest members of the PPA Tour – Hunter and Yates Johnson, stars of the APP Tour, are now full-time members with the PPA. Yates is the No. 33 seed. Hunter is the No. 35 seed. Both have extremely tough draws, but they shouldn’t be intimidated in any way. 
  • Prediction: Men’s singles has been fun to watch this season with a variety of players getting to the medal stand, but Johns is still the standard. He and Staksrud are a step above the rest of the field that is getting deeper and deeper at each tournament. Look for Johns to win his third gold of the season.

Womens Singles

  • The favorite: Waters, who had to withdraw from the tournament in Austin, is back and should be ready to go. She’s an overwhelming favorite in a field that has some serious firepower.
  • Player to watch: With so many of the game’s top players in the field, including No. 2 Catherine Parenteau, No. 3 Mary Brascia and No. 4 Jansen, there are a lot of options here. But 11th-seeded Kaitlyn Christian has been on a rapid ascension. She has two medals in 2024 and is coming off a runner-up finish to Judit Castillo in Austin. 
  • Wildcard: Will this be the tournament Genie Bouchard gets on a roll? She’s the No. 18 seed. Others who are set to make a run include No. 6 Lauren Stratman, No. 7 Brooke Buckner and No. 8 Lina Padegimaite. 
  • Prediction: Ready to get weird? Salome Devidze comes in as the No. 5 seed, but there’s no chance she’ll be intimidated by the game’s elite. One of the top winners on the APP Tour, Devidze has 12 medals on the PPA Tour as well, including a pair of golds, the latest coming earlier this year in Minnesota. Devidze has a tough draw with potential matches against Christian, Brascia and Parenteau, but she’s more than capable. This is the tournament where she beats Waters and earns gold for the second time this season.

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