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Johns, Fed, Jansen Lock Up Gold Medals at Entertaining PPA Houston Open

by Erik Tice on

The PPA Houston Open wrapped up Sunday at the Life Time Kingwood, with the weather cooperating except for some pesky winds. It was the second of four back-to-back stops on the PPA Tour in April.

This was a fun tournament to watch, as there were many upsets and new faces playing in some high-stakes matches. Some of the top players skipped this tournament to get some rest:

  • Anna Leigh Waters
  • Catherine Parenteau
  • Brooke Buckner
  • Jack Sock
  • Riley Newman
  • Tyson McGuffin
  • JW Johnson

Seven for Seven With Three Golds - Fed Has Made every PPA Finals in 2024

Federico Staksrud has made all seven Championship Sundays in Men’s Singles thus far in 2024. He is a man on a mission this year. There have been upsets galore in men’s singles this year, except when Fed is playing.

The Argentinian has won three gold medals and four silver medals in 2024. He is tied with Ben Johns with three gold medals on the PPA Tour. No other player has won on the PPA Tour more than once. What’s even crazier is the fact that Fed now has seven gold or silver medals, and the next closest in terms of medal count is still Ben Johns with his three.

Federico is still second in our latest Power Rankings because in Ben Johns’ three gold medal matches, he has beaten Federico each time. While Stakseud is easily the second best men’s singles player – and the most consistent player – he needs some wins over Ben in order to be considered the best player right now.

Staksrud had a great performance in Houston. He beat Rafa Hewitt, Dylan Frazier, Donald Young and Quang Duong. His combined score in those four matches? 95-38. Those numbers speak for themselves.

Dekel Bar and Tina Pisnik Are a Great Mixed Doubles Team and that Rubs off on Gender Doubles Too

Bar and Pisnik earned their second silver medal in a row in Houston. They earned their first silver medal at PPA North Carolina and they also had a fourth-place finish at the PPA Indoor Championships in Minnesota.

The duo exemplifies the "typical" mixed doubles team strategy. Bar likes to get big and take over at times and Pisnik basically gives a masterclass in putting every ball back whenever she steps on the court.

In addition to their great play together, they both have had similar success in gender doubles. Bar has two silver medals this year in men’s doubles: One with Tyson McGuffin at PPA Desert Ridge and another one this weekend with Thomas Wilson. 

Pisnik also earned her first medal of the year with Lea Jansen, with a third place finish at this event. However, Pisnik has never finished worse than the quarterfinals in any event she played in this year. She has really cemented herself as a top 10-15 woman on tour.

Sam Parker had Herself a Weekend, but Lea Jansen gets her First Gold of 2024

Lea Jansen earned her first gold medal in women’s singles since 2021. When I heard that stat, I said there was no way that was possible, but it’s true.

Jansen is a mainstay in women’s singles, outside of her brief retirement from the event in late 2023. She is regularly either seeded third or fourth in PPA events. Jansen has been getting better in singles as of late – her two-handed backhand drive and rolling drop are looking much better from a mechanical perspective. She is also still a beast at the kitchen line, coming forward more than most female players, once she hits a good, deep ground stroke.

Jansen made quick work of the upset artist, Samantha Parker, in the finals. If Parker had played the championship on Thursday after making her unlikely run, I think the scoreline of the Jansen match would have been much closer than 11-3, 11-2.

Here is a list of the ladies that Parker beat on her way to championship Sunday: (1) Mary Brascia, (21) Martina Frantova, and (4) Lacy Schneemann. She showed a ton of resiliency against Schneemann, winning that match 10-12, 11-9, 11-9. That is the closest match possible in a three-game set. What a weekend for Parker.

Upsets Galore!

34. That is the number of upsets on the weekend of six or more seeds. The 2024 season is proving that the PPA Tour is full of parity. In men’s and women’s singles alone, there were 10 upsets in each division.

Players like previously mentioned Sam Parker (19), Donald Young (35), and Quang Duong (10) were all double-digit seeds who made it to Championship Sunday. Having these new names and faces on Championship Court makes the viewing even better for fans.

Ben Johns Gets Two More Medals on the PPA Tour

Since ALW skipped this weekend, Ben was able to play with his former Seattle Pioneers teammate, Etta Wright. They ended up steamrolling Dekel Bar and Tina Pisnik in the final, 11-4, 11-6, 11-5. 

He then took on Fed and Pablo with his brother Collin in men's doubles, winning 11-0, 11-2, 11-2. For those counting at home, Ben Johns posted 66-19 in his two finals matches. Yes, he is susceptible to an upset or two per weekend, but don’t forget that Johns is the best men’s player in the world, and it’s not even really close.

Other Highlights From the Weekend

  • Ben and Collin playing a little singles during a mixed doubles match against each other
  • Gabe Joseph played an amazing singles point with Jaume Martinez Vich
  • Quang Duong hit a RIDICULOUS ATP winner against Ben Johns on his way to upsetting the No. 1 seed
  • Great defense from Lina Padegimaite on their way to beating Roscoe Bellamy and Meghan Dizon
  • Just an insane overall point in women’s doubles
  • Hayden Patriquin with some behind-the-back defense
  • Ben Johns playing some ridiculous defense on Championship Sunday
  • No. 19 seed Samantha Parker made it all the way to Championship Sunday

Full Veolia PPA Houston Open Results

Women’s Singles

  1. Lea Jansen
  2. Samantha Parker
  3. Lacy Schneemann

Men’s Singles

  1. Federico Staksrud
  2. Quang Duong
  3. Jaume Martinez Vich

Mixed Doubles

  1. Ben Johns/Etta Wright
  2. Dekel Bar/Tina Pisnik
  3. Christian Alshon/Jackie Kawamoto

Women’s Doubles

  1. Anna Bright/Rachel Rohrabacher
  2. Vivienne David/Jackie Kawamoto
  3. Lea Jansen/Tina Pisnik

Men’s Doubles

  1. Ben Johns/Collin Johns
  2. Federico Staksrud/Pablo Tellez
  3. Dekel Bar/Thomas Wilson

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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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