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Duo of David and Wilson Notch Their Second Gold of 2024 at PPA LA Open

by Erik Tice on

The PPA LA Open wrapped up Sunday at the Los Cab Sports Village in Fountain Valley, California. As expected in spring in SoCal,  the weather provided perfect pickleball conditions all tournament long.

The fans really showed up and were noticeable on Saturday and Sunday, with a really nice championship court atmosphere. With this being the third of four PPA tournaments in a row, the players who have been working on their cardio and stamina were really at an advantage throughout the weekend.

Top takeaways

Vivienne David and Thomas Wilson Have Established Themselves as the Clear Cut No. 2 Mixed Doubles Team on the PPA Tour

Thomas and Viv earned their second gold medal of 2024 on Sunday, taking down Anna Bright and Ben Johns in what was a very entertaining four-game match with score lines of 13-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-3.

Viv and Thomas stayed consistent throughout and maintained their positive encouragement with each other. 

Johns and Bright seemed out of sorts throughout the match. Ben is known not to bring the energy from time to time, and at certain points seemed like he didn’t want to be there. Anna Bright seemed determined to gut out a win, but maybe pressed a little too hard to get the gold with Ben. Their chemistry was ... less than optimal in the finals. I doubt they play together anytime soon unless circumstances come up, like they did in LA.

This is the second gold medal for Thomas and Viv in 2024. The other gold came a couple of months ago at the PPA Indoor Championships in Minnesota. This medal marks their seventh medal out of eight attempts this year on the PPA Tour. The duo is extremely consistent, with their worst finish being fifth last week at the PPA Houston Open. With all the volatility in mixed doubles this year, this team’s track record stands out amongst the rest.

Connor Garnett Wins His First PPA Tour Event

This cements Garnett's status in our latest Men's Singles Top 20 Power Rankings at No. 3. I view Garnett and Christian Alshon similarly, but now that Garnett has a title to his name, he should be a solid No. 3 in our update in May.

Garnett has started a little fan base with new hats that say "Twoey Nation," an homage to his deadly two-handed backhand. Garnett has the best "twoey" in the game, both from the kitchen line and from the baseline, men or women. 

The year did not start off great for Garnett in singles – he lost in the Round of 16 twice at The Masters and PPA Desert Ridge. Since then he has two bronze medals, a silver medal in Minnesota, and now a gold medal at PPA LA. Garnett seems to be playing with confidence and always brings a smile to his face.

To see him get a big win at his home courts was something special to see this weekend.

Anna Bright and Rachel Rohrabacher are Officially a Problem - and the Established No. 2 Women’s Doubles Team Right Now

Anna Bright and Rachel Rohrabacher now have back-to-back wins - Houston and LA.

That's four gold medals in the last five attempts and six total medals out of seven events played together this year. This powerful duo, affectionately known as – "The Girlies" – is really playing well. 

In their gold medal match in LA, Bright and Rohrabacher steamrolled the powerful team of Schneemann and Glozman, 11-5, 11-5, and 11-5. With the first ever win over Anna Leigh Waters and Catherine Parenteau at the PPA Austin a few weeks ago, they are the only team to have that on their resume.

Bright and Rohrabacher are pushing ALW and CP as the best women’s team. If they can find a couple more wins over the No. 1 duo, they may eventually overtake them.

A Breakout Weekend for the Walker Sisters

Alex and Angie Walker have been working their way up the women’s pro doubles scene. They haven’t really had a signature win yet in 2024, but the PPA LA Open was a bit of a coming out party. 

This was the first run to the women’s doubles quarterfinals for the Walker sisters. They had a 9th-place finish at the PPA Indoor Championships back in March, but that was the closest they had come to the quarterfinals in 2024.

The Canadian duo, who reside in the Phoenix area, was able to come up with a really gutsy win over the No. 4 seed – Lauren Stratman and Allyce Jones – in the Round of 16. This was a really intense match with the score lines of 11-4, 5-11, and 13-11. The Walkers showed immense mental fortitude throughout the match, coming back from a deficit in the third game to pull out the win.

Look out for these sisters to continue to make similar runs in the future, as they keep getting better with more experience.

New Faces on the Podium

Brooke Buckner - Technically, this isn’t Brooke’s first time on the podium in 2024, but this is the first gold medal she has earned. She did get a bronze medal at The Masters at the first tournament of the year. She had a great run this weekend, beating some really good women on her way to a gold medal: Liz Truluck, Layne Sleeth, and Lacy Schneemann, and Lauren Stratman in the finals. Buckner will surely be moving up in our Women's Singles Power Rankings in May.

Lauren Stratman - Stratman has been playing women’s singles at a high level for the last two or three years, but never really had a breakout moment. I was shocked to find out this was her first trip to Championship Sunday. Stratman had some great wins herself this week, beating Australian Emelia Schmidt, Christine Maddox, and Kaitlyn Christian on her way to a silver medal.

Roscoe Bellamy - The former UCLA Bruin men’s tennis player seems to have shifted to full-time pickleball. His mother, Beth, was voted women’s senior player of the year in the 2023 Dink Awards. Bellamy has a big frame at 6’5” and moves well. He showed off some really great skill throughout the weekend, beating Travis Rettenmaier, Tyson McGuffin, and Ryan Sherry, on his way to beating Aanik Lohani for the bronze medal.

Zane Navratil/Travis Rettenmaier - These two have been getting better with each event. Zane is playing great as of late and Travis has been picking up his level in the last month or two. Rettenmaier didn’t have the results he would have liked to start off 2024, but he is now regularly contending to get to the podium. He showed elite hand speed throughout the bronze-level match, beating Augie Ge and Connor Garnett.

Jaume Martinez Vich/Tyson McGuffin - Obviously these two have been on the podium before - McGuffin over a dozen times in the last few years. However, this was the first time for this duo. Vich played a great, aggressive left side, and Tyson was solid throughout from the right side. Taking the Johns brothers to a fifth game on Championship Sunday is an accomplishment they should both be proud of. With men’s doubles partnerships so fluid this year, hopefully we can see more of this duo moving forward.

Lacy Schneemann/Vivian Glozman - I have no idea where Viv Glozman has been in 2024, but she hasn’t been playing much pro pickleball. This probably led to her dropping to the Challenger Level in the 2024 MLP Draft. If Glozman is back playing regularly, she looks to be a force. Schneemann had a great weekend – a second-place finish in women’s doubles and a fourth-place finish in women’s singles. 

Lacy is very much a confidence player, meaning when she is on she is ON, and when she is off, she is very off. We love seeing her playing confidently and hopefully she can bring that momentum into the next few events.

Tina Pisnik/Collin Johns - Your eyes are not deceiving you. Collin Johns won a bronze medal in mixed doubles. I think it is official: pundits are no longer allowed to say Collin is terrible at mixed doubles. Collin looked great throughout the day and was especially awesome in the bronze-medal match. Tina Pisnik seems like she can play with anyone.

Anna Bright/Ben Johns - Bright and Johns never team up, but since both of their regular partners didn’t play this weekend, they decided to give it a shot. Bright brings a ton of power and could win with any of the top 5-10 guys, and the same could be said of Johns. It was not a surprise that the No. 1 seed made it to Championship Sunday, but it was a surprise they lost that match in four games.

Top Moments from the Weekend

  • Garnett and Martinez Vich had an incredible match in the quarterfinals highlighted by this last play with a clean winner from Garnett.
  • The PPA mic’d up some players on the bench this weekend - Rachel Rohrabacher with the 1000 IQ statement, “When we’re on defense we have to get it back” - pure wisdom there
  • In honor of Taylor Swift’s "The Tortured Poets Department" (TTPD for those in the know) album release, the PPA asked some of the best pros their favorite hype song. Of course Ben said a T-Swift song was his favorite.
  • Julian Arnold ensuring he cannot use his paddle moving forward, after a tough loss to Ryan Sherry in men’s singles.
  • Quick defense to offense for Vivienne David - she tells Fed to get that stuff outta here with a forehand counter winner.
  • Jaume Martinez Vich with an impressive Erne and a Tyson McGuffin finish on their way to a silver medal.
  • One of the craziest points from a great match – Hayden Patriquin was NOT trying to keep this ball in. His only target was Rettenmaier.

Final Results From the Weekend

Women’s Singles

  1. Brooke Buckner
  2. Lauren Stratman
  3. Kaitlyn Christian

Men’s Singles

  1. Connor Garnett
  2. Federico Staksrud
  3. Roscoe Bellamy

Women’s Doubles

  1. Rachel Rohrabacher/Anna Bright
  2. Lacy Schneemann/Vivian Glozman
  3. Etta Wright/Meghan Dizon

Men’s Doubles

  1. Ben Johns/Collin Johns
  2. Tyson McGuffin/Jaume Martinez Vich 
  3. Travis Rettenmaier/Zane Navratil

Mixed Doubles

  1. Vivienne David/Thomas Wilson
  2. Anna Bright/Ben Johns
  3. Tina Pisnik/Collin Johns
Erik Tice

Erik Tice

Erik produces content for The Dink related to pro and collegiate pickleball. He is an avid watcher of pickleball and became passionate about the sport in early 2022.

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