Matches begin this morning at 8:30am CT on center court in Dreamland. MLP has released the matchups and event starts with Team Clean vs ATX Pickleballers. Stream todays matches from the MLP on YouTube.
Game Day Alternate
Ben Newell will be filling in for Stefan Auvergne in today's competition. Newell has been getting strong results in tournaments this year and will be valuable for the Mad Drops. His pairing with Julian Arnold should be a high-octane aggressive brand of pickleball.
Start with a Bang
This is what MLP is all about. The ATX Pickleballers and Team Clean go the distance in the first match of the event. They split games 2-2 and had to settle up in a singles tiebreaker, the Dreambreaker.
Team Clean got out to a commanding lead in the tiebreak. But just like we saw it Dreambreakers last year, momentum shifted and ATX rallied back to take a 14-13 lead. Dylan Frazier won clutch points down the stretch and handed it off to Jade Kawamoto who put the final nail in the coffin 21-16. ATX Pickleballers get the first dub of the event and lead Pool A.
BLQK takes down Jackrabbits
While BLQK pulled off a definitive 3-1 win over Jackrabbits, the story here is the impressive play by the young guns Mary Brascia and Hayden Patriquin (Patriquin is Wes Gabrielson's replacement). Mary played super consistent and composed, particularly in the duo's doubles match vs Zane Navratil and Paris Todd in game 4.
They lost, but that was expected. Navratil and Todd are just too experienced/strong. But Hayden was playing like a vet, taking over the court, initiating speedups and even showing some flair flashing a 1 with his finger after a winner down the middle.
AJ Koller is attempting to put the team on his back and almost led his squad to a dreambreaker (singles tiebreaker). But even then, the dreambreaker likely would have gone the way of BLQK given their singles prowess. Hayden and Brascia has game point on their paddle in game 4, which would have sent the match to a dreambreaker, but Todd and Navratil were relentless and eventually pulled out a tight win.
BLQK is strong, but I'm not convinced they're finals material. We will see.
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Chimeras Drop the Mad Drops Pickleball Club
Andrea Koop and the Chimeras take all four games against Mad Drops Pickleball Club. This puts them in a great position to advance out of their pool. There's a good chance we see some tied records tomorrow and have the game advantage will be huge for the Chimeras.
The Lions Roar in an Electric Dreambreaker
The Lions and Ranchers squared off in a big first round matchup. They were trading games back and forth setting up the third Dreambreaker of the day. The Ranchers got out to the early lead but just like we saw in the first Dreambreaker, the Lions charged back into contention.
Anna Bright's infectious energy was almost enough to get the Ranchers to the finish line but a 4 point run by Bobbi Oshiro but things out of reach leading to a Lions victory.
We've got three unbeaten teams on the day. Florida Smash, BLQK and ATX Pickleballers have all escaped Day 1 unbeaten. The 1-0 Lions and 5's are about to face off to establish the final undefeated team of the day.
End of Day One
The 5's take out the Lions to finish as the only undefeated team in Pool C. With a +5 game differential they are guaranteed a spot in the knockout round and will likely receive a bye. The Bus, Ranchers, Jackrabbits and Team Clean have all been eliminated from contention finishing the day 0-2. One of the biggest surprises of day one was the ATX Pickleballers finishing in the top spot in Pool A. Led by the boisterous efforts of Altaf Merchant, the ATX Pickleballers beat Team Clean 3-2 and the Jackrabbits 4-0.