The Dink Pickleball

The Dink Pickleball Logo
Pickleball Lives Here

PPA Cincinnati Preview: Predictions for Doubles Play

by Guest Author on

The Baird Wealth Management Cincinnati Open is Wednesday, September 6th, through Sunday, September 10th, in Mason, Ohio. Pro play is set to begin Thursday with singles, followed by mixed doubles on Friday, gender doubles on Saturday, and Championship Sunday.

As of right now, it seems the PPA and MLP are playing nice with each other. For the most part, it seems like most pros are attending the Cincinnati Open, whether they chose to sign with PPA or MLP. This means we get some high level pickleball!

Notable missing players:

  • Travis Rettenmaier
  • Hayden Patriquin
  • Zane Navratil
  • Maggie Brascia
  • Yana Newell

Men’s doubles

Here are some quick notes about some men’s doubles teams that I find intriguing:

Connor Garnett & Gabriel Tardio - Tardio has been playing out of his mind lately and I don’t think anyone’s stock has risen as quickly as Garnett’s over the last year or so. It will be interesting to see who plays where, but this team could make some noise.

Riley Newman & Thomas Wilson - Newman is now on his fourth men’s partner of the year. He ditched Matt Wright to go with either Koller or Arnold, only to not win anything with either of them. We will see if Wilson can be a very solid steadying force for Newman.

Related: What I Learned from My Matches Against Riley Newman and Matt Wright

Matt Wright & Rafa Hewett - An…interesting pairing? This is the opposite of the Garnett/Tardio pairing. We aren’t going for athleticism and quickness here. However, these guys both have hands, and their pickleball IQ is through the roof. Really excited to see how far they can go.

Steve Deakin & Collin Shick - Two PPA signees that are pairing up. I believe this is the first time for this duo. Schick is half of Deakin’s age, and his doubles game has really been coming along.


Teams to make it to the semis:

  • McGuffin & Papa Jimmy
  • Riley & Thomas
  • Ben & Collin
  • Dylan & JW


Ben & Collin - It’s been a minute since Ben and Collin last won a gold. It was in July at the Denver Open. If they don’t win in Cincy, it will be the longest time in between PPA wins for the Johns brothers since September of last year.

Women’s doubles

Here are some quick notes about some women’s doubles teams that I find intriguing.

Lindsey Newman & Tina Pisnik - This very easily could be the best defensive team in the entire tournament. Teams are going to have to put away way more shots than they are used to in order to win. If Pisnik can create some offense, would a semi finals berth be shocking? Definitely not.

Millie Rane & Mari Humberg - I got to see a little of Humberg recently and her size and athleticism is impressive. The offense of this team is impressive. Can they handle sustained rallies and dink with the best? Let’s see!

Hurricane Tyra Black & Lauren Stratman - We are going to see some fire power with this first time pairing. This could be one of the last times seeing these two play together for a while, as Stratman signed with PPA and Black with MLP.


Obviously, seeding has a lot to do with outcome, and since I don’t know seeds, these predictions are kind of a shot in the dark.

Teams to make it to the semis:

  • Bright & Dizon
  • CP & ALW
  • Kovalova & Smith
  • Black & Stratman


CP & ALW - Can anyone bring them down? Bright and Dizon got a game off them in Kansas City, but I just don’t see anyone having sustained success against this duo.

Related: We Bet on Every Available Pickleball Match - Singles Day

Mixed doubles

Here are some quick notes about some mixed doubles teams that I find intriguing. No Ben or ALW!

Bright & Ignatowich - These two have an extremely high ceiling together. However, their two most recent results have been lacking. A first round loss in TOC and a Round of 16 loss in Kansas City has them on a downward trend. Hopefully with the MLP/PPA debacle not looming, they can get back to their winning ways.

Julian Arnold & Lolo - This is a couple that very rarely plays pro tour stops together. It will be fun watching them play together! Hopefully their off court chemistry can help them on the court.

Millie Rane & Gabe Tardio - The young duo had a helluva run in Kansas City - a fourth place finish. Tardio got big and really played well in the middle. Let’s see if they can make it two straight events with good results.


Teams to make it to the semis:

  • Riley & Jessie
  • ALW & Ben
  • JW & Jorja
  • Tyson & CP


ALW & Ben - Another mixed doubles win on the PPA Tour. If things stay the way they are right now, I can’t even see the next time Ben and ALW lose a match on the PPA Tour.

Erik Tice is a contributor who specifically focuses on articles related to Major League Pickleball. He started playing pickle in early 2022 and is passionate about helping the sport grow. Erik lives in Phoenix with his wife Megan and their two dogs, Mojo and Taz.

Read more