Andrea Koop touched on what everyone else has been thinking for the past few days at the Takeya Showcase, where women’s doubles looks very different from the usual.
“We missed the Waters,” Koop said.
No, she doesn’t “miss” Anna Leigh and Leigh Waters, who have paired up and become the team to beat this season on the PPA Tour. What Koop means is she avoided them.
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a shot of honesty. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with Koop’s play over the past few days, either.
She and partner Vivienne David highlight a women’s final with some old names and some fresh new faces, too. Koop, who has never won a title on the PPA Tour, will have two chances at it Sunday, including her match with David against Irina Tereschenko and Etta Wright.
“Just having no expectations helps,” Koop said.
The long-time player, who won a college national title at UCLA, will also be in the mixed doubles final paired with AJ Koller.
Another player going for her first PPA title will be newcomer Wright, who has only been playing pickleball for a year. Meanwhile, David has been in the sport for awhile, as has Tereschenko.
Without the Waters playing this week, the field opened up. The top-three seeds were eliminated, which made for an unpredictable semis featuring the No. 4, No. 6, No. 7 and No. 9 seeded teams.
The result was No. 9 Tereschenko and Wright winning, 11-5, 11-0 over Parris Todd and Anna Bright and David and Koop outlasting Megan Sheehan-Dizon and Allyce Jones, 11-2, 12-10.
“I just love partnering up with the OG,” said Wright about Tereschenko. “I appreciate her guidance and trust in me. It’s surreal. I started playing a year ago, and I’m excited to get better and keep improving.”
Meanwhile, Koop and David held off a game point in game two of their semifinal and advanced to their first final together.
“I’m just honored to be playing with her,” David said of Koop. “I just let her do her thing, and what she does is awesome.”
So, the women’s side featured a bunch of upsets and unpredictability. Not so on the men’s side. As expected, the No. 1 seeded team of Ben and Collin Johns will face off against No. 2-seeded Matt Wright and Riley Newman.
Neither pairing lost a game in any of their matches on Saturday.
Tyler Loong and Callan Dawson got out to a 5-1 lead in game one against the Johns brothers, but from there it was all about the No. 1 team. The Johns scored 16 of the next 17 points and went on to win 11-5, 11-4.
On the other side of the bracket, Newman and Wright were down 10-6 in game one against Thomas Wilson and Koller, but Newman and Wright scored the next six points. The duo fell behind again in game two, 6-1, but managed to finish the match on a 10-1 run for the 12-10, 11-7 win.
“Matt and I like to play that aggressive style,” Newman said. “But we decided to slow it down and dink until you die and stay mentally tough.”
Tyler Loong and Callan Dawson come away with the bronze in men’s doubles, while Anna Bright and Parris Todd capture the bronze on the women’s side.
Championship Sunday starts with mixed doubles. Koop and Koller against Lucy Kovalova and Wright followed by the Johns brothers taking on Newman and Wright in the men’s doubles field.
Following that is women’s doubles, with Irina Tereschenko and Etta Wright taking on Andrea Koop and Vivienne David, then men’s singles with Ben Johns taking on second-seeded Tyson McGuffin.
The last match of the day will be top-seeded Catherine Parenteau against No. 3-seeded Salome Devidze in the women’s singles final.