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Jorja Johnson Gets Her First Triple Crown, Will Howells Makes Quite An Impression In Sacramento

by Erik Tice on

The biggest story from the APP Sacramento Open this past weekend was Jorja Johnson earning her first triple crown. 

The 17-year old from Florida got her first triple crown on the APP Tour. She is the youngest player to ever do so. It feels like Jorja is much older than her actual age because she has been a regular on the pro pickleball tour for a few years.

The APP played the women’s doubles Championships on Saturday night, so Johnson already had a gold medal going into Championship Sunday. Jorja played the left side with Jill Braverman in women’s doubles.

The first-time partnership got some big wins on their road to gold. First, they beat Emily Ackerman and Riley Bohnert, 11-5, 11-5. They followed that up with an 11-6, 11-4 victory over Susannah Barr and Megan Fudge. Lastly they beat Millie Rane and Yanna Newell, 11-1, 11-6.

In singles, Jorja had to beat Daria Walczak, Simone Jardim, and Judit Castillo, to make it to the finals. In the final match, Johnson and Megan Fudge played an epic three game match where the scores were 15-12, 14-16, and 15-13.

Lastly, in mixed doubles, Jorja and JW Johnson made quick work of Daria Walczak and Patrick Kawka, 11-5, 11-2. Triple Crown accomplished.

Other storylines ...

Will Howells gets another win on the APP Tour, this time in men’s singles

Howells was not a well known name prior to 2024. The former Notre Dame Fighting Irish tennis player is quickly becoming a household name. At the first APP event of 2024 – APP Punta Gorda – he got gold in men’s doubles with CJ Klinger. He followed that up at the PPA Desert Ridge, winning the Men’s Singles pro qualifiers, making it all the way to the Round of 16, beating Ryan Sherry in the process.

This past weekend, Howells got the gold over Jack Foster in singles and also got a silver medal with JW Johnson in doubles. Expect to see Howells making more podiums throughout the 2024 year.

Andrei Daescu and Gabe Tardio are a real force to be reckoned with 

The Giants and "Giant Killers." This duo is extremely tall, exciting to watch, and they keep on winning. Pairing up in 2024 starting at The Masters, they made it to the Round of 16, before losing to JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier. They then got together for PPA Mesa Open, where they beat Ben and Collin Johns, Pat Smith and Jay Devilliers, and Thomas Wilson and Riley Newman. 

In Sacramento, they beat Irizarry/Bertram 11-3, 11-3. In the quarterfinals, they beat Sobek/Newell 11-5, 11-5. In the semis, Daescu and Tardio faced Cincola and Munro, beating them 11-7, 11-8. 

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Having lost their two previous matches against JW Johnson (albeit with Dylan Frazier), Tardio and Daescu were able to beat Howells and Johnson in three games in the finals. The first two games were back and forth. Tardio and Daescu won the first game, 11-3, and then lost the second game, 5-11. Gabe and Andrei decided they wanted to go home quickly, so they pickled JW Johnson and Will Howells in the third game for the gold medal.

Daria Walczak and Patrick Kawka came all the way from qualifiers to a silver medal

I am not sure exactly how this partnership came to be, but man are they good. Kawka has made a name for himself in the Arizona Pickleball League and on the West Coast tour stops. Walczak is an up and comer that doesn’t have a ton of film, but she is tall, athletic, and plays a great right side in mixed doubles. Both Kawka and Walczak are former D-1 tennis players – BYU and Drake, respectively. The interesting thing is, to my knowledge, both Kawka and Walczak still have full-time jobs. Kawka is a real estate agent in the Las Vegas area and Walczak is an Actuarial Analyst. 

Here is their run this weekend:

  • Pro Qualifiers:
    • Win: Brett Finan/Renuka Kelapure - 15-2
    • Win: Michael Loyd/Brooke Revuelta - 15-10
    • Win: Erik Forsythe/Ashlee Canedlaria - 15-8
  • Pro Main Draw:
    • Win: Simone Jardim/Ronan Campron - 11-7, 13-11
    • Win: Emily Ackerman/John Cincola - 11-3, 11-8
    • Win: Andrei Daescu/Megan Fudge - 11-1, 11-8
    • Win: Jill Braverman/Gabe Tardio - 3-11, 11-9, 12-10
    • Loss: JW Johnson/Jorja Johnson - 5-11, 2-11

Those are some big names to bring down. The duo played with high energy and went for their shots the entire time. I watched the Daescu/Fudge match live and I cannot remember the last time either of those players were just completely lost and had no answers. I hope to see more of this pairing in the near future.

Here are the full pro results from the weekend in Sacramento:

APP Pro Results

Division

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Women’s Singles

Jorja Johnson

Megan Fudge

Judit Castillo

Men’s Singles

Will Howells

Jack Foster

Chris Haworth

Mixed Doubles

Jorja Johnson
JW Johnson

Daria Walczak
Patrick Kawka

Jillian Braverman
Gabriel Tardio

Women’s Doubles

Jillian Braverman

Jorja Johnson

Yana Newell

Milan Rane

Susannah Barr
Megan Fudge

Men's
Doubles

Andrei Daescu

Gabriel Tardio

Will Howells
JW Johnson

John Cincola

Jack Munro

Read more