JW Johnson and Anna Bright’s triple crown attempts were denied, allowing Dylan Frazier to secure a double gold in mixed and men’s doubles, leaving no golds for Johnson and only one for Bright.
Championship Sunday at the APP Chicago Open was spectacular, with a handful of double dips (winning the best two of three games to 11 and the tiebreaker to 15), an epic comeback and lots of drama.
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The biggest storylines following Sunday’s action were Frazier’s menacing doubles game and Andrea Koop and Lauren Stratman’ comeback from the depths of despair. Let’s start with men’s doubles.
Frazier and Andrei Dăescu needed the tiebreaker to 15 to secure the gold medal against Johnson and Dekel Bar, as they lost the best two out of three games earlier in the match. Both Frazier and Dăescu showed they’re an outstanding partnership, with Frazier making the case for being on of the best right-side men’s doubles players in pickleball.
Thomas Wilson and DJ Young came back in the consolation bracket to take bronze, after losing in the winner’s bracket to the 27th seeds in Aanik Lohani and Amrik Donkena. The 27th seeds made it to the winner’s bracket final on Saturday, but lost to Johnson and Bar. They then narrowly lost to John Cincola and Ryler DeHeart, 16-14. Nevertheless, they made an outstanding run and added evidence to the theory that faster game will be the new meta in pickle.
Frazier then switched from the right to the left, alongside Bright in mixed doubles, to double dip against the Johnson siblings: JW and Jorja. Frazier and Bright won in straight games to win the best two of three and the tiebreaker. They were pretty much out in front in all three games and rode that early momentum to victory.
That was also Johnson’s (and Bright’s) third match of the day with the singles and gender doubles finals coming before that. Koop and Navratil rounded out the podium, after losing to Frazier and Bright in the bronze match on Friday. Everything was going well for Navratil and Koop, until Bright moved to the left of the court, kicking Frazier off to the right. Koop and Navratil had no counter.
Koop and Stratman’s epic comeback in women’s doubles was nothing short of epic. Not only did this duo double dip against the winner’s bracket winners in Bright and Johnson, but they came all the way back from losing their very first match of the bracket on Saturday to the Kawamotos. Koop and Stratman then had to win five games in the opportunity bracket to get themselves into Sunday. Lee Whitwell and Etta Wright took third in the bracket, making it Wright’s first pro medal.
In singles, Federico Staksrud came into the gold match as the winner, but lost the best two of three games to Johnson, needing the tiebreaker to take home the gold. Staksrud won his first game, but lost his next two, with many thinking Johnson found a kink in the Argentinian’s armor. However, in the tiebreaker, Staksrud got up early and didn’t let up. Former division one tennis player James Ignatowich took third in that bracket. Ignatowich played brilliantly in singles on Friday, battling his opponents and dehydration in the process.
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Salome Devidze won another singles crown against Bright, showing that she is the true queen of singles on the APP tour. Salome was able to take the victory without needing the tiebreaker. Rosie Johanson took bronze, making it her second bronze medal this year in singles.
Men’s Doubles: 🥇Dylan Frazier & Andrei Dăescu 🥈JW Johnson & Dekel Bar 🥉DJ Young & Thomas Wilson
Women’s Doubles: 🥇Andrea Koop & Lauren Stratman 🥈Anna Bright & Jorja Johnson 🥉Lee Whitwell & Etta Wright
Mixed doubles: 🥇Anna Bright & Dylan Frazier 🥈Jorja Johnson & JW Johnson🥉Andre Koop & Zane Navratil
Men’s Singles: 🥇Federico Staksrud 🥈JW Johnson 🥉James Ignatowich
Women’s Singles: 🥇Salome Devidze 🥈Anna Bright 🥉Rosie Johanson