Friday brought another fantastic day of play at the 2019 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships, as both the Men’s and Women’s Open and Senior Open Doubles divisions kicked off what is sure to be a record-setting weekend of pickleball action. Friday’s format had all four divisions playing up to the semi-finals, which narrowed the field to the top four teams in each bracket who will contest for the top spots on the podium on Saturday. The gold medal will be on the line, as well as national championship bragging rights and a hardware and a piece of the $80,000 total tournament cash prize purse.
Many of the world’s top pickleball professionals returned to the courts on Friday after competing in the Mixed Open field, and along with them came some of the biggest crowds and best energy of any day of the tournament thus far. In the Men’s Senior Open division, the final four teams have left a mixed bag of some expected podium participants and some surprise semifinalists. While Mills Miller and Steve Dawson were expected to reach the final rounds on Saturday, the same cannot be said for the duo of Brian Poynter and Dave Weinbach. 2019 Nationals has been a career tournament for Weinbach, who already has one gold medal to his name this week with a Mixed Doubles Senior Open victory alongside Kris Anderson.
In Men’s Open, a similar assortment of perennial contenders and unexpected participants will take to the courts on Saturday for a chance at gold. Defending champions Kyle Yates and Ben Johns dispatched their opponents on Friday to advance, while the likes of Eden Lica and Andrei Daescu as well as Steve Deakin and Lange Erik have a chance to solidify themselves as a force in the division for years to come.
Moving over to the Women’s side, the Senior Open final four are a who’s who of well-known pros and expected Saturday finalists. Defending champions Cammy MacGregor and Jennifer Dawson are the clear number one seed again and will be extremely tough to take down in the final rounds, while Jennifer Lucore and Alex Hamner are hoping their experience continues to propel them to victories. The same can be said for the partnership of Lisa Naumu and Kris Anderson, each of whom are consistently some of the best Senior Pros in the game. The stage is certainly set for a thrilling finish in the Women’s Senior Open division on Saturday.
Lastly, the Women’s Open final four returns most of the 2018 Nationals medal winners as they look to repeat their success this year. Defending champions Lucy Kovalova and Irina Tereschenko have an incredible amount of experience on their side and will look to use their veteran status to put together a perfect Saturday and repeat as gold medalists. Catherine Parenteau and newfound 2019 doubles partner Jessie Irvine have created a new top seed that most expected would have a chance to win it all. We’d be remiss to forget the other two teams left in the draw; mother-daughter duo Leigh Waters and Anna Leigh Waters as well as returning silver medalists Simone Jardim and Corrine Carr.
With Friday’s play wrapped, only a few teams are left standing in the running for Gold in each division:
Men’s Doubles Senior Open Final Four:
Men’s Doubles Open Final Four:
Women’s Doubles Senior Open Final Four:
Women’s Doubles Open Final Four:
These semifinalist teams will finish out their matches against each other on Saturday on the Championship Court with live match coverage provided by the ‘Live @ Nationals’ streaming product. Semifinal matches begin on Championship Court at 10:00am PST, with medal matches to follow later in the afternoon.
The schedule for Championship Court is as follows:
Now, let’s see what’s on tap for tomorrow:
Events – Saturday, Nov. 9
Women’s Doubles Senior Open – Semifinals/Bronze/Finals
Men’s Doubles Senior Open – Semifinals/Bronze/Finals
Women’s Doubles Open – Semifinals/Bronze/Finals
Men’s Doubles Open – Semifinals/Bronze/Finals
The hotly-contested Men’s and Women’s Doubles Open and Senior Open division final four matches will be the main attraction at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Saturday, as gold medals and prize money will be awarded throughout the afternoon to the best pickleball duos in the tournament. That being said, it’s not the only play on tap, as Women’s and Men’s Skill/Age Doubles in the 4.0 and 4.5 skill groups as well as Junior Girls Doubles and Junior Boys Doubles will also take to the courts.
In addition, the Pickleball Hall of Fame will present the class of 2019, an expression of esteem and appreciation to four new members on Championship Court. Timing for the presentation will be in the late afternoon between the Women’s Doubles Open and Men’s Doubles Open gold medal matches.