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PPA Masters 2024 Preview and Predictions

by Erik Tice on

Starting Tuesday, January 9th, the PPA Tour is back in action in 2024! The PPA Masters is such a cool event to start the calendar year off with. All pros are required to wear white while playing.

The tournament happens annually at Mission Hills Country Club, in Rancho Mirage, California, a suburb of Palm Springs.

A few unique items for this year’s Masters:

  1. This is the first tournament we will see the new Vulcan VPro Flight Outdoor ball. This is the ball the PPA chose to be the official ball of the PPA Tour in 2024. For more on this new ball, click here to read the press release by the PPA Tour.
  2. The Progressive Draw that was used at USAP Nationals is again being used at The Masters.
    1. This means that starting on Wednesday, there will be one round of play in each event. The exception to this is Wednesday - both the Round of 64 and the Round of 32 will be played in one day. So a player playing all three pro events could play a gender doubles game, a mixed doubles game, and a singles game.
    2. There is no back draw and all main draw rounds are best 2 out 3, games to 11, win by 2.
    3. The gold medal matches are best 3 out 5 games in doubles and 2 out 3 in singles.
  3. The serve rules are going to be changed on a temporary basis at The Masters.
    1. Basically, there is no tossing the ball up on the serve, and instead, the ball must leave the hand in a downward motion.
    2. The ball must leave the hand at or below the top of the hip.
  4. The top 8 seeds in every bracket will get a bye into the round of 16, so Ben and Anna Leigh won’t play until Thursday

The event should be exciting with some new faces in the mix. Hopefully the looming, self-imposed deadline for the January 31st MLP/PPA merger doesn’t overshadow the play in Palm Springs.

Here is the press release with all of the pro main draws.

Women’s Singles Preview

The women’s singles bracket has a total of 37 entries. There are some regular names and some new names.

One notable missing player in singles at The Masters is Hurricane Tyra Black.

New Names in the bracket:

  • Genie Bouchard - The former top tennis pro is starting her pro pickle career at The Masters
  • Linwei Kong - The former Wichita State Shocker seems to be going full-time pickleball
  • Chao Yi Wang - The best female Asian player appears to be playing exclusively in the USA

Players Who Have a Chance of Winning:

  • Anna Leigh Waters
  • Catherine Parenteau
  • Lea Jansen is playing singles at The Masters!
  • Parris Todd
  • Judit Castillo
  • Domi Schaefer

Prediction: Playing only one match a day is much easier on the body, which is why I think Jansen is playing in this tournament.

Predicted semi-finalists: Anna Leigh Waters, Catherine Parenteau, Judit Castillo, and Jorja Johnson

Winner: I am going to go with something crazy: Anna Leigh Waters beats Catherine Parenteau in the women’s singles finals

Women’s Doubles

New Partnerships:

  • Genie Bouchard and Chao Yi Wang are the 24 seed Vivienne David and Lacy Schneemann are the 5 seed.
  • Vivian Glozman and Parris Todd are the 12 seed Lea Jansen and Hurricane Tyra Black are the 8 seed.
  • Anna Bright and Rachel Rohrabacher are the 3 seed

Regular Pairings:

  • Anna Leigh Waters and Catherine Parenteau (1 seed)
  • Lucy Kovalova and Callie Jo Smith (2 seed)
  • Jackie and Jade Kawamoto (7 seed)
  • Maggie and Mary Brascia (9 seed)

Upset Alert: I love the Brooke Revuelta and Lauren Mercado partnership. I think the two 18-year-olds have a good chance of beating Genie Bouchard and Chao Yi Wang in their first pro match together.

Predictions - Quarterfinalists: Anna Leigh Waters/Catherine Parenteau, Viv David/Lacy Schneemann, Bright/Rohrabacher, the Kawamotos.

Winners: ALW & CP beat Bright and Rohrabacher in four in the finals.

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Mixed Doubles

There are 48 teams in the main draw and an additional 35 teams are fighting for 8 spots in the qualifier draw.

Fun/Intriguing Partnerships in the Qualifier - I would bet at least four of these teams get into the Main Draw:

  • Jill Braverman/Jaume Martinez Vich
  • Erik Pailet/Cierra Gaytan-Leach
  • Yates Johnson/Vivian Glozman
  • Patrick Kawka/Lauren Mercardo
  • Brooke Revuelta/Michael Loyd

New Partnerships:

  • Dylan Frazier/Hurricane Tyra Black - 10 seed - Not sure if this is a year long partnership, but this could be a very good one!
  • Tyson McGuffin/Meghan Dizon - 6 seed
  • Riley Newman/Jackie Kawamoto - 5 seed
  • DJ Young/Jade Kawamoto - 19 seed
  • Federico Staksrud/Rachel Rohrabacher - 18 seed
  • Christian Alshon/Leigh Waters - 26 seed (Leigh Waters back playing on the pro tour!)
  • Catherine Pareneteau/Jack Sock - 8 seed

Regular Partnerships:

  • Ben Johns/Anna Leigh Waters - 1 seed
  • James Ignatowich/Anna Bright - 2 seed
  • Jorja and JW Johnson - 3 seed
  • Thomas Wilson/Vivienne David - 4 seed
  • Lucy Kovalova/Matt Wright - 7 seed

Prediction: Wow - what a bracket! I am hoping for some fun upsets to start the 2024 season!

Quarterfinalists: Ben and Anna Leigh, Wilson/David, Bright and Ignatowich, and McGuffin/Dizon

Finals: Ben and Anna Leigh beat Bright and Ignatowich in five games in the finals

Read Next: The 2023 Professional Pickleball Recap

Men’s Singles

There are 67 – let me repeat: 67! – Men in the singles QUALIFIER bracket. Those 67 are vying for 8 spots in the main draw.

Qualifiers Who I Like to Make the Main Draw:

  • Mohaned Alhouni
  • Frank Anthony Davis
  • Chris Haworth - how is he in qualis???
  • Hunter Johnson - Johnson being in qualis is just silly
  • Yates Johnson - Same as his brother

Upset Alerts: Men’s singles is the most volatile event in pro pickleball - there are guaranteed to be upsets this weekend.

  • DJ Young is a 45 seed
  • I love Michael Loyd as the 25 seed - he could make a run
  • Naveen Beasley is a monster at the 23 seed - he could also make some waves

Prediction - Quarterfinalists: Ben Johns, Tyson McGuffin, Christian Alshon, and Connor Garnett

Finals: Ben beats Alshon in 3 games in the finals

Men’s Doubles

There are 32 teams in the men’s doubles qualifiers hoping to make the main draw. There are some super fun new partnerships along with some staples in the event.

New Partnerships:

  • Julian Arnold/Christian Alshon - 7 seed
  • Andrei Daescu/Gabe Tardio - 14 seed
  • Todd Fought/Tyler Loong - 13 seed
  • Tyson McGuffin/Deke Bar - 6 seed
  • Collin Shick/Jack Sock - 30 seed
  • Matt Wright/James Ignatowich - 3 seed

Regular Partners:

  • Ben and Collin Johns - 1 seed
  • JW Johnson/Dylan Frazier - 2 seed
  • Riley Newman/Thomas Wilson - 4 seed
  • Federico Staksrud/Pablo Tellez - 5 seed

Predictions: I think the teams that adjust the quickest to the new Vulcan ball in this event will have a significant advantage.

Quarterfinalists: Ben and Collin, Newman/Wilson, Tardio/Daescu (upset alert), and Ignatowich/Wright

Finals: Ben and Collin beat Newman/Wilson in four games in the finals

Conclusion

The Masters is always a fun and great tournament to watch. There is something about the green courts and the white outfits that brings an extra special feel.

Having so many new faces in the game going into 2024 is exciting. Can either Jack Sock or Genie Bouchard bring themselves into the top elite tier of the sport?

Is another newcomer going to make a name for themself? The Masters is the first chance to do this.

I predicted that ALW and Ben Johns will both Triple Crown, but I hope (just a little bit) that I am wrong. I am hoping the 2024 year brings us a little more parity on the PPA Tour at the top level.


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