Orange County Cup PPA Recap: Bouchard’s Crash, Dramatic Upsets, and Gold Medals

photo cover for the Orange County Cup
Federico Staksrud PPA 2024 (Picture Kerry Pittenger)

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Gold Medal Winners

Women’s Doubles: Catherine Parenteau and Anna Leigh Waters defeated Irina Tereschenko and Etta Wright.

Men’s Doubles: JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier defeated Hayden Patriquin and Pablo Tellez.

Mixed Doubles: Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters defeated Hayden Patriquin and Vivienne David.

Men’s Singles: Chris Haworth defeated Federico Staksrud.

Women’s Singles: Anna Leigh Waters defeated Catherine Parenteau.

Women’s Doubles Highlights

Genie Bouchard Crashes in Women’s Doubles Round of 16

Hey everyone, Chris here from the Sorry Not Sorry Pickleball Podcast. Let me start with this wild moment from the women’s doubles round of 16. Genie Bouchard and her partner, Layne Sleeth, were playing against Rachel Rohrabacher and Anna Bright, the number two seeds. Genie, who’s been improving every week, had a mishap. She tried to return a ball that trickled off the net, and boom! She crashed into the net, taking it down with her. She was fine and tried to hold the net up by the tape, but it was hilarious. Anna Bright mentioned that you usually see this kind of thing during open play with beginners 😬

Genie crashing into the net

Women’s Doubles Semi-Final Highlights

The semi-final match in women’s doubles between Hurricane Tyra Black and Parris Todd against Tina Pisnik and Jessie Irvine was fantastic. Parris Todd struggled with her serves, and Tina Pisnik had a stunning counter. At one point, Todd’s serve kept finding the net, and she seemed to develop the yips.

In game one, Todd and Black were up 10-7. Todd served wide, but they took the game 11-7. Game two was rough for Todd, with several missed returns into the net. She gave up five points on missed returns alone, ending the game at 11-2 for Pisnik and Irvine. After a quick break, Todd seemed to regain her composure in game three. Despite a strong effort, Todd and Black couldn’t catch up, and Pisnik and Irvine secured their spot in the gold medal match.

Women’s Doubles Gold Medal Match

So, onto the gold medal match, where Tina Pisnik and Jessie Irvine took on the powerhouse team of Catherine Parenteau and Anna Leigh Waters. Game one was a blowout with Waters and Parenteau dominating 8-1. Pisnik and Irvine tried to fight back, but the game ended 11-2. Game two was slightly closer, with some impressive dinks and an ATP by Jesse, but Waters and Parenteau took it 11-6. In game three, it was a tight 10-8, but Parenteau’s perfect dink forced an error from Pisnik, gaining another gold medal for Waters and Parenteau.

Men’s Doubles Highlights

ESPN2 Showdown: Ben and Colin Johns vs. Eric Roddy and Casey Diamond

We’re going to Wednesday where pickleball was shown on ESPN2. It was kind of weird that they showed a round of 32 match, but hey, pickleball on ESPN is still a big deal. So, we had Ben and Colin Johns taking on Eric Roddy and Casey Diamond. You just know if you’re on ESPN, you got to make a cool play. Roddy and Diamond were up 3-1 when Diamond hit a body shot against Colin. Somebody in a bar must have been laughing hard at that moment. The very next point, Roddy made a diving play, got it over the net, and almost finished it for a top 10 play, but Ben finished it instead.

It was 8-9 with Roddy and Diamond trying to pull off an upset. Ben took over the court, showing why he’s considered a ball hog by some. The rally was long and intense, with multiple lobs and smashes, but Ben and Colin pulled through to win game one 11-9. They took game two 10-4, securing their win. However, Ben seemed upset and packed up his bag immediately.

Tyler Loong and James Ignatowich

Next, on ESPN2, Tyler Loong and James Ignatowich faced Hunter and Yates Johnson. The Johnsons took game one, but Ignatowich’s backhand flick around the post made it to number three on SportsCenter’s top 10. Tyler Loong also tried to get on the top 10 with a tweener shot, but it didn’t make the cut. Tyler and James won in the third game 11-3. Their post-match interview was awkward, with James making a fat joke about Jimmy Miller that left Tyler cringing.

Longest Dink Rally: Ben and Colin vs. Collin Shick and Noah Clifton

In the round of 16, Ben and Colin took on Collin Shick and Noah Clifton. This match featured what might be the longest dink rally in pickleball history with 137 shots.

Quarterfinal: Ben and Colin vs. Hayden Patriquin and Pablo Tellez

The quarterfinal match between Ben and Colin and Hayden Patriquin and Pablo Tellez was possibly my favorite match of all time. Ben and Colin were visibly frustrated with the ball, calling it trash multiple times. Colin even let out some Happy Gilmore-style anger. Hayden and Pablo kept the pressure on, forcing errors and getting into the Johns brothers’ heads.

Ben and Colin’s Frustration and Epic Comeback

The match was filled with dramatic moments. Ben and Colin were down 10-5 but managed to tie it at 10. Colin’s reaction to a net cord Ernie was priceless. He was so mad, but it was hilarious to watch. The rally continued with incredible gets, dinks, and firefights. Finally, Hayden and Pablo managed to win 11-10, completing their underdog victory.

Gold Medal Match: JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier vs. Hayden Patriquin and Pablo Tellez

In the gold medal match, JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier faced Hayden Patriquin and Pablo Tellez. JW and Dylan’s consistent dinking strategy paid off, frustrating Hayden and Pablo. They won game one 11-7 and game two 11-6.

Mixed Doubles Highlights

Starting with the semi-final match, we have JW Johnson playing with his sister, Georgia Johnson, taking on Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters. In game one, Ben and Anna Leigh were up 7-3, with Ben dominating and keeping the Johnsons back. Anna Leigh held strong on the right side. Ben’s sharp-angle Ernie sealed the game point, and they took game one 11-3.

Game two started with Ben dinking, but JW sped it up and got aggressive. JW and Georgia were up 8-4, a sizable lead against the top-seeded duo. Despite Ben and Anna Leigh’s attempts to close the gap, the Johnsons held strong and took the game 11-6, forcing a decisive game three.

In game three, the score was tight at 3-3, with JW and Georgia leading 5-2 shortly after. A series of hands battles saw Georgia finishing strong. The Johnsons had several match points at 10-4, but Ben and Anna Leigh made an incredible comeback. They tied it at 10, then surged ahead to win 12-10, securing their spot in the gold medal match after an eight-point run.

Other Semi-Final Match

In the other semi-final, Hayden Patriquin and Vivienne David faced Catherine Parenteau and Christian Alshon. Christian, returning from surgery, was eager to prove himself. Alshon and Parenteau dominated game one, winning 11-3. Game two was closer, with Patriquin and David closing the gap to 7-6. A moment occurred when Christian tried to hit a ball to a fan, initially missing but redeeming himself on the second attempt.

With the score tied at 8-8, Christian’s persistence paid off, and they managed to win game two 13-12 after several match points, securing their place in the gold medal match.

Mixed Doubles Gold Medal Match

Now let’s talk about the gold medal match where Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters faced Catherine Parenteau and Christian Alshon. Coach Leigh Waters was on the sidelines, rocking her Gucci gear. Despite the warm weather, she had on a blanket sweater.

In game one, Ben and Anna Leigh were on fire, quickly taking a commanding lead and eventually winning 11-0. They were simply too good, with Ben taking over the middle from the right side.

Game two started with Christian and Catherine struggling to score. Despite a fun hands battle where Christian got big in the middle and managed to get in Ben’s face, it was a small victory in an otherwise dominant performance by Ben and Anna Leigh. They closed out game two 11-6.

By game three, Christian and Catherine managed to get an early lead at 3-0, but Ben and Anna Leigh quickly regained control. They wrapped up the game with an 11-4 victory. Christian, visibly frustrated, almost snapped his paddle.

Men’s Singles Highlights

Ben Johns’ Early Rounds

Starting at the round of 32, Ben Johns took on Hunter Johnson. Ben managed to pickle Hunter in the first game, and it was a close match in the second. In game three, Ben had an impressive Ernie, an ATP wide angle, and a tweener all in one point. Hunter couldn’t finish it, and Ben won the match. Moving to his round of 16 match, Ben faced Naveen Beasley. It was a tight game one, but Ben came out on top. In game two, Ben thought it was over, but had to keep going with some casual walk-off shots, securing his win.

Ben Johns vs. Quang Duong

In the quarterfinal match, Ben went up against Quang Duong. At 5-4 in game two, a net cord left Ben visibly frustrated, much like his brother Colin often is. Still 5-4, Ben served and hit a wide-angle shot, tracked it down, and went backdoor for a fantastic point, fist-pumping with relief. This game was close too, with Ben having match point at 10-9. He hit some precise shots right on the line and finally took the game, advancing to the semifinals.

Semifinal: Ben Johns vs. Chris Haworth

In the semifinal, Ben faced Chris Haworth. Chris played really well in game one, using a consistent tennis style from the baseline, and won 11-4. He was using an interesting-looking Babolat paddle.

In game two, it was 5-2 when Ben continued to get frustrated with net cords. At game point, 10-3, Ben won and pushed it to a third game. In game three, with Ben up 3-1, Chris made it to the kitchen line and slammed balls at Ben, who managed some incredible gets and eventually put one away. At 3-2, Chris tied it at three. At 5-3, Chris led with powerful two-handed backhands, and Ben couldn’t keep up, making it 9-7 for Chris. Off a net cord, Ben was visibly upset. Chris reached match point and, despite Ben’s efforts, secured his win, taking down the number two seed.

Gold Medal Match: Chris Haworth vs. Federico Staksrud

Chris Haworth then faced Federico Staksrud in the gold medal match. Game one was tight, with both players scrambling and hitting winners. Chris stayed back on the baseline, ripping two-handed backhand drives, while Fed made him earn every point. At 10-10, Fed pulled off a beautiful drop shot to take the game 11-10. In game two, Chris led 10-5 and managed to push it to a third game. Game three saw Chris up 2-0 with Fed trying to fight back. They traded shots with Chris hitting an ATP attempt that missed. Fed tied it at 6-6, drove down the line, and took the lead 7-6. The crowd loved the intense action.

At 9-7, Chris went right at Fed, checked his feet, and realized he was good. Chris managed to take down the number one seed, earning his first PPA gold medal. This victory was remarkable, taking down both Ben Johns and Federico Staksrud. It’s not often someone beats Ben and then clinches gold.

Trophy Presentation and Post-Match

Council member Chris Duncan, who many thought was the mayor, presented the trophy in the best outfit of the weekend – red shorts, red shirt, sports jacket, and flip-flops. He made a quirky comment about getting lucky in San Clemente, which was kind of lame but added to the memorable moments of the tournament. Chris Haworth’s win was a highlight, proving he might be a clear contender moving forward.

Women’s Singles Highlights

Women’s Singles Gold Medal Match

We’re going straight to the gold medal match between Catherine Parenteau and Anna Leigh Waters. Of course, we get this matchup all the time. I think you know how it’s going to go.

So, in game one, it’s 3-2 with Anna Leigh just up by a single point. Fast forward to game point for Anna Leigh at 10-5. Anna Leigh hits a shot, and the audience goes, “No, no.” Catherine is so confused, asking, “Wait, what do I…is that what happened?” The ref steps in, “Guys, just, you’re not allowed to say the call. I can’t really do much, but if you do that, it’s just not cool.” Another game point for Anna Leigh at 10-6. She nails an inside-out shot, a beautiful-looking one, and takes game one at 11-6.

In game two, it’s 7-2, a five-point lead for Anna Leigh, making it a bit of a blowout. Catherine Parenteau tries to entertain with an ATP, a close call, but it’s just out. The crowd screams, “In,” but the ref reminds them, “Crowd, audience, you’re not allowed to do that.” At 9-5, Catherine is inching her way back. She gets forced to the right side and tries another ATP.

It’s match point for Anna Leigh Waters at 10-6. She hits a shot into the net, taking game two at 11-6. With this win, Anna Leigh Waters secures the triple crown for the weekend. She’s just untouchable at this point.

Freezing Paddles Scandal

Shoutout to Dink Smash Media for catching this hot mic situation. Todd Fought was recorded talking about freezing paddles in his hotel room to get around testing. He said, “I got a lot of __. I don’t know if they passed. I already got three cooking in my hotel. Stay safe.”

So, is this cheating? The idea is to get the paddles cold so they become harder and tighter, then get them tested quickly. They pass for the day, and as they warm up, they expand and become more effective. No pun intended, but the paddle gets “hotter.”

Does it make a difference? Probably. Even if it didn’t, it’s a way to skirt around testing. What’s the rule here? You can’t keep your paddles in a location below freezing? If I live in a cold area and leave my paddle outside, am I freezing my paddle?

It sounds like they know exactly what they’re doing. If they’re aware this wouldn’t pass under normal conditions and still do it, that’s pretty bad. One commenter, Jay, said, “The fact that you believe that’s real blows my mind.” But Todd Fought himself commented, “As far as I know, I broke no written rules, and in my opinion, I’ve done nothing morally wrong. But if you disagree, feel free to rip me a new one in the comments.”

Alright, well, that’s going to do it for a recap of the Orange County Cup. For full version video recaps and exclusive content, head to my “Sorry Not Sorry Pickleball” YouTube channel.

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