Newport Beach Is Thrice-As-Nice For Parris Todd At The APP Pro Event

The Association of Pickleball Players (APP) visited Newport Beach for the first time last weekend, hosting a massive draw of pros and amateurs for the 2023 Newport Beach Open. This is the final Golden Ticket affiliated APP event for the year and nearly 1,500 players came out to this sunny Los Angeles suburb to compete, setting a new APP attendance record.

Let’s Recap the pro action.


Men’s Pro Singles Recap:

APP #1 Hunter Johnson continued his reign atop the APP Men’s pro singles standings, taking his fourth gold medal of 2023 (albeit his first since early April). He vanquished his twin brother Yates Johnson in the winner’s bracket final, only to face an unfamiliar name in the eventual gold medal match in qualifier Quang Duong. Duong is a top junior tennis player (he won the 2021 16U Orange Bowl), and is also an accomplished paddle tennis player hailing from Manhattan Beach. He’s now trying his hand in pickleball, having entered a couple of recent PPA events.

He cruised through the draw, topping several top-ranked APP players along the way, then beat Yates to advance to the gold medal match to force a rematch with Hunter. In the final, Hunter topped Duong 10,4, but the Selkirk-sponsored player made his mark and is a name to watch for.

Gold: Hunter Johnson. Silver: Quang Duong. Bronze: Yates Johnson.


Women’s Pro Singles Recap:

The absence of APP #1 Salome Devidze left open the door for the top two seeds Megan Fudge and Parris Todd to battle it out for gold, and that is precisely what they did. Fudge and Todd each advanced to the winner’s bracket final, where Todd topped Fudge 9,2 to earn the Sunday final. Fudge took out 12th ranked Dominique Schaefer for a rematch against Todd in the gold medal match, where she fell in a breaker. This is Todd’s third singles gold medal of 2023 and her 7th overall on tour.

Gold: Parris Todd. Silver: Megan Fudge. Bronze: Dominique Schaefer.


Mixed Pro Doubles Recap

#1 seeds Hunter Johnson and Parris Todd, who were knocked out of the NYC Open early to break their consecutive medal streak for the season, returned to form and ground their way to a gold medal. Qualifiers Andre Mick & Allison Harris lost early but worked their way out of the loser’s bracket with 5 straight win-or-go-home matches to get to the gold medal match before falling. This is Harris’ first ever APP medal (and Mick’s second). 5th seeds Megan Fudge & Rob Nunnery took a game off of the #1 seeds in the main draw, but couldn’t get back to the gold medal game and settle for Bronze.

Gold: Todd/Johnson. Silver: Harris/Mick. Bronze: Fudge/Nunnery.


Men’s Pro Doubles Recap

Andrei Daescu made it 7-for-7 in 2023, winning his 7th straight Pro Doubles title. After winning the last couple of APP events with Nunnery, Daescu returned to his Pesa Teoni lefty-righty pairing to claim gold. However, the main story of this event was the shock early loss of the #2 seeded Johnson brothers and the subsequent run made by APP NextGen players Spencer Lanier & Richard Livornese Jr. Oregon-based Lanier (aged 20) and New Jersey-based Livornese took out the #2 seeds 12-10 in the third, then advanced to the winner’s bracket final with a solid win over APP veterans DeHeart & Sobek. The pair held firm in the bronze medal match, taking another 12-10 win over the experienced pairing of Austin Gridley & Rob Nunnery.

It’s great to see the APP’s NextGen program producing medal winning players.

Gold: Daescu/Toni. Silver: Lanier/Livornese Jr. Bronze: Gridley/Nunnery.


Women’s Pro Doubles Recap

As with Daescu’s 2023 clean sweep, the #1 women’s pro doubles pairing of Simone Jardim and Parris Todd continues to run rampant over the APP tour, as they also won their 7th straight pro doubles gold medal to open 2023. But they had to earn it, getting taken to 14-12 in the winner’s bracket final by the #2 seeds Megan Fudge & Susannah Barr. 6th seeds Genie Erokhina & Rianna Valdes, bronze medalists from the APP Sacramento Open in April, bounced back from an early loss, topped Fudge & Barr to send them to the bronze, and advanced to the gold medal match. In the final, the upstarts pressed Jardim & Todd in game one but fell in two.

The win sealed the triple crown on the weekend for Todd, her 3rd career triple crown.

Gold: Jardim/Todd. Silver: Erokhina/Valdes. Bronze: Fudge/Barr.


Senior Pro Competition Quick Recap

With a competing NPL event, the senior’s draws for this APP event were pretty gutted, giving lots of new Senior Pros chances to medal.

· Men’s Senior Pro Singles: Matthias Johansson won his 17th APP Senior Pro Singles title, topping William Brown in the gold medal match.

· Men’s Senior Pro Doubles: the AZ-based team of Kristopher Heddings & David Furman took the gold, repeating their gold-medal performance from Mesa in early April.

· Women’s Senior Pro Doubles: Jennifer Dawson won her first Senior pro doubles title since January 2022, pairing with Lily Kordic for the win.

· Mixed Senior Pro Doubles: Stacy Zelenski & Dayne Gingrich took the gold over Jenny Klitch/Mircea Morariu in a battle between two of the sport’s leading coaches in Gingrich & Morariu.


Next up on the APP Tour? According to my Master Pickleball Schedule … the APP has a NextGen event in Kansas City next weekend, then their next pro stop is in St. Louis in early August.

Next up on the Pickleball Calendar? MLP’s 2023 Season two draft is set for July 12th in New York. Then, the PPA returns to action on the 7/16 weekend in Denver after a month-long break.

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