On Championship Sunday of the first PPA Tour grand slam of the season, the matches were nothing short of epic. Of the five fantastic match-ups, three went the distance to five games. Even without any players in contention for a Triple Crown on Championship Sunday, the drama was still incredibly high.
The only double crown winner at the PPA Atlanta Open was Riley Newman. He and mixed partner Catherine Parenteau were only challenged in the middle game, winning 12-10, over #1 seeds, Lucy Kovalova and Matt Wright. In the other two games, Parenteau/Newman won handily, 11-2 in each.
In men’s doubles, #1 seeds Newman and partner Matt Wright, won a marathon match – an instant classic – against Ben Johns and Collin Johns. After Newman/Wright took the first 2 games 12-10, 12-10, the Johns brothers hit their stride, winning games 3 and 4, 11-6, 11-9. In a grueling finish, Newman/Wright fought back, winning the 5th and deciding game, 11-7. This marks the first time the Newman/Wright have ever beaten the Johns/Johns pairing.
The women’s doubles gold medal match was equally thrilling and dramatic. Again the #1 and #2 seeds met in the finals. The mother-daughter Waters duo, upon returning from 6 weeks off, played brilliantly all weekend. However, after splitting two games apiece (1 and 4 going to Waters/Waters, 2 and 3 going to Kovalova/Smith), Kovalova and Smith outshone Leigh and Anna Leigh, 11-2 in the 5th game.
After missing the title in women’s doubles, Anna Leigh Waters looked unbeatable in her singles final against Catherine Parenteau. During her post-game interview, Waters said she was still frustrated over the doubles result and used that emotion to fuel her convincing 11-7, 11-2, 11-6 victory over Parenteau.
Finally, after a wild west style shootout in men’s singles on Thursday, two men emerged on Championship Sunday – #12 seed Federico Staksrud and #23 seed Rafa Hewett (Yes, you read those seeds correctly). In another 5-game grind, in the humid Hot-lanta sun, Stakrud jumped out early, winning the first 2 games, 11-3, 11-7. But Hewett would heat up along with the temperatures to take the next 2 games, 11-9, 12-10. To close out Championship Sunday, Staksrud earned his first PPA gold medal, winning 11-8 in the 5th and final game.
The PPA tour heads to San Clemente, California next for the Select Medical Orange County Cup, which will run June 9-12, 2022. Register to play or buy tickets to watch here.