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Upsets Come Raining Down in Austin as ALW, Parenteau Take First Ever L

by Erik Tice on

What a weekend (and Monday) at the PPA Austin Open, which wrapped up after a stormy weekend in the skies and on the courts at Elevation Athletic Club in Lakeway, Texas.

Let's get right to it ...

Catherine Parenteau and Anna Leigh Waters Lose - For the First Time EVER

It’s kind of crazy that this duo has never lost a match. They’ve been playing together for nearly nine months and every single tournament they play, they win. Up until Monday, that is.

In an epic four-game battle, Rachel Rohrabacher and Anna Bright beat Catherine and Anna Leigh on Championship Monday, 11-4, 3-11, 11-6, and 11-8 in a match that didn't have much dinking at all. If there was a ball to speed up, all four players were more than willing.

The best part of the match by far was the end. In the last game, Bright and Rohrabacher got stuck on 10 points for a long time. It took them nine match point attempts to finally get the job done.

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This win for Rohrabacher and Bright solidifies their standing as the No. 2 women’s doubles team in the sport right now. Parenteau and Waters are still the gold standard in women's doubles, and they would need to lose at least three more tournaments before we start talking about them not being the best tandem.

The Austin Open should hereby be named the "Andrei Daescu Open in Austin"

Andrei Daescu didn’t play many PPA events last year, but he made his presence known on the APP Tour and in MLP for the Orlando Squeeze. The former Romanian tennis player had a huge tournament in Austin this weekend, winning not one, but two gold medals.

In men’s doubles, Daescu and Matt Wright started off the quarterfinals with a big win over Gabe Tardio and Dekel Bar in three games. In the semifinals, they played an epic match against JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier. The veterans got pickled in the first game and were staring down a defeat, however they showed their mental toughness winning games two and three 11-4, 11-5, respectively.

In the only gold medal match to be played on Sunday, Daescu and Wright beat Zane Navratil and Christian Alshon in three straight games. 

In mixed doubles, Daescu and Anna Bright had to beat Thomas Wilson and Vivienne David in the semifinals, doing so in an extremely close match, 11-9, 11-9.

On Monday, Daescu and Bright played in the first championship match of the day. Beating Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters is extremely difficult anytime, anywhere. The last time it was done was just about a year ago in Mesa, where JW Johnson and Jorja Johnson got them in the semis. However, that was only a best 2-out-of-3 situation. Daescu and Bright had to beat Johns and Waters in a best 3-out-of-5 match - much more difficult.

No sweat. Daescu and Bright won all three games, 11-3, 11-9, 11-3. Daescu showed a fiery competitive edge throughout both of his gold medals.

The Field is Closing in on Ben Johns

The field is getting closer to the man on top, and it's not because Ben is falling back to the pack. In fact, Ben has gotten better over the last year or so, adding some new shots to his arsenal. The field is just getting so much better at a quicker rate.

In singles this weekend, Ben tore through the competition and ended up beating Federico Staksrud easily on Championship Monday, 11-5, 11-7. Ben is now the first man to win two singles titles in 2024. This also makes back-to-back singles wins for Johns after sitting out Minnesota last week. Both of those wins were over Staksrud.

Austin marks the second event in a row that Ben and Collin Johns were knocked out before the semifinals in men's doubles. In Mesa, Gabe Tardio and Andrei Daescu took them out in the Round of 16. Zane Navratil and Christian Alshon beat Ben and Collin, 11-6, 15-13 in Austin. 

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Is Ben no longer the best player in the world? Not so fast. Johns is definitely considered the best player in the world in all three events. However, the field is making up ground.

Judit Castillo is the Real Deal

Castillo showed incredible toughness, going down 8-11 in the first game of her Women's Singles Championship match against Kaitlyn Christian. She eventually beat Christian – an elite singles player in her own right – 11-6 and 11-7 in the final two games to close out the win.

Castillo's championship started with wins over Pierina Imparato, Liz Truluck, and Jamie Haas. She then beat Jorja Johnson 11-7, 1-11, and 11-7 in the semifinals. That win avenged her semifinal loss to Jorja at the APP Sacramento Open two weeks ago.

Castillo also has a win on the APP Tour in women’s singles in Punta Gorda this year. She followed that up with a bronze at the APP Sacramento, beating Domi Schaefer for the medal. Judit was ranked No. 8 in The Dink's first Women’s Singles Power Rankings of 2024, but after a bronze in Sacramento and a win in Austin, she will surely be moving up those rankings next go around.

If you missed the action from Austin, here are some of the top moments:

There was defense everywhere on this point. Shick and Buckner scored a big upset over Sock and Parenteau on Friday in mixed doubles.

Ben Johns and Jack Sock had one of the most entertaining matches we have seen this year. After the side switch in the third game, they started bantering and both agreed to play a point left-handed. It would have been way more entertaining if Sock didn’t ruin the point by burying the return into the net.

In an interview after a win, Catherine Parenteau announced she was just granted a Green Card, thanks to pickleball. The Canadian said it took about 18 months to finally obtain it. 

Having a little fun at Anna Bright’s expense – She got tripped up and ended up doing some sort of reverse somersault roll thing. The best news is obviously that Anna was fine after this stumble.

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