The PPA Invisalign Open kicks off in North Carolina this weekend with some of the best and hottest in pickleball in attendance. A few of the top players won’t make an appearance at this one, which has led to some interesting and exciting pairings. Catherine Parenteau has been playing exceedingly well lately, and her early season women’s doubles partner change from Jessie Irvine to Lea Jansen has spawned animated discussions across the picklesphere. Could she be the third woman to win a triple crown in PPA history? Could Jansen?
In men’s doubles, will anyone be able to knock off Riley Newman and Matt Wright? Collin Johns, without world #1 Ben Johns by his side, pairs with Patrick Smith—2 players with fast hands and high pickleball IQs but who typically both play right-side. With Devilliers out of the country, McGuffin pairs with the dangerous lefty, Tyler Loong. Beyond these three teams, the field is wide open, with plenty of potential upsets possible. The singles field should be a race for silver behind Tyson McGuffin. Keep an eye on Ryan Sherry and Julian Arnold.
On the women’s side, although Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters are absent, both the singles and doubles fields are decidedly strong. One wild card to watch in singles is Salome Devidze, former tennis pro and recent pickleball convert, who has already had some success in the sport. The doubles field is loaded up top, with four teams as heavy favorites fighting for three spots on the medal stand. Look for some spectacular semifinal battles on Saturday.
In mixed doubles, Lucy Kovalova/Wright and Parenteau/Newman are the clear frontrunners, but the interesting pairings for this weekend could shake up the medal stand in North Carolina. Lauren Stratman/McGuffin always play well together, and Irvine/Arnold could be a threat. We are particularly interested to watch Callie Smith/Chuck Taylor’s athleticism play out (a new pairing for Smith as AJ Koller is sitting this one out), as well as Irina Tereschenko/Patrick Smith’s pickleball acumen together. It should be a fantastic weekend in North Carolina.
Don’t forgot to tune in to all the action via the PPA Tour Facebook, YouTube, and Tennis Channel Plus, as well FOX Sports on Sunday! If you’re a Charlotte local, buy your ticket to come watch these incredible athletes!