🏆: Seattle Pioneers: Meghan Dizon, Etta Wright, Ben Johns, Tyler Loong
🥈: California BLQK Bears: Andrea Koop, Maggie Brascia, Federico Staksrud, Dylan Frazier
🏆: Bay Area Breakers: Rachel Summers, Ewa Radzikowska, Christian Alshon, Pablo Tellez
🥈: Dallas Pickleball Club: Jillian Braverman, Christa Gecheva, Daniel De La Rosa, Brandon French
The most exciting sports tournament in March is officially over and it was packed with madness! That’s right, Major League Pickleball’s second event of the year went down in style in Daytona Beach, Fla. with Ben Johns and the Seattle Pioneers taking home the championship in the Premier Level.
In the Challenger Level the Bay Area Breakers went back to back, this time over the revamped Dallas Pickleball Club. Former professional tennis player Sam Querrey’s three-month deadline is up, did his prediction of being a top 10 player in the world come true at MLP?
The King of pickleball has been recrown as an MLP champion, after winning the inaugural tournament back in 2021. This time, Johns did it alongside Etta Wright, Meghan Dizon and Tyler Loong.
They defeated the California BLQK Bears in the finals featuring Andrea Koop, Maggie Brascia, Federico Staksrud and Dylan Frazier. While they didn’t get the win, Staksrud clearly showed he is a legit force in all aspects of the game, and is certainly no longer just a singles specialist.
The Los Angeles Mad Drops, the defending champs from MLP Mesa the earlier this year, lost to the Pioneers in the semi-finals, losing three matches to zero. The Mad Drops were without Thomas Wilson due to an injury sustained earlier in the tournament, which forced them to play with a Challenger Level player in Hunter Johnson.
In the second semi-final match, the New York 5s with Waters, Lea Jansen, James Ignatowich and Hayden Patriquin went down to the BLQK Bears 3-1, which included Waters/Jansen losing to Koop/Brascia in an epic 25-23 match for the ages. All tournament long Waters/Jansen struggled as a duo, which didn’t seem like a possibility on paper.
Back to back champs! But this time, the Breakers had to work a little harder for the hardware. They beat the restructured Dallas Pickleball Club team in the finals 3-1, only losing the men’s doubles match.
That victory went to newly acquired player Daniel De La Rosa and Brandon French over the Tweener King, Christian Alshon and Pablo Tellez. In fact, Alshon/Tellez was supposed to be the Breakers’ best team they could feature and arguably the best men’s doubles team in the tournament, but they didn’t live up to the hype.
The real finals in my opinion was the semi-final match between the Chicago Slice and the Breakers. It was pretty clear that whoever secured that match was going to win the chip. And the Breakers did so in a tight dreambreaker, 21-18.
The former world no. 11 tennis player looked substantially better from his first MLP outing a couple months ago, but was still unable to will his team out of the group stage. The Challenger Level number one pick and his DC Pickleball Club sit in the second to last spot in the standings after going 0-3 in the tournament.
However, if Querrey can improve as much as he did in the last two months in the next two months, I think that team is going to make some more noise come June 15 at the MLP San Clemente. Querrey is still far off from being a top 10 men’s player, which he promised us would happen by the end of March.
The hype for San Clemente is already building. Two teams have already made a move to help bolster their chance of turning things around before the end of season one.
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