Lea Jansen competing at the Veolia Houston Open

The PPA Tour wrapped up its second tournament of April 2024 at the Veolia Houston Open. Life Time Fitness hosts the event at their Kingwood location in the northeast suburbs of Houston. Despite some wind challenges, the overall day was sunny; the competition was fierce.

This tournament had some surprises, with new players stepping up and unexpected wins. Following are some top players who decided to skip this tournament to take some rest for future competitions:

  • Anna Leigh Waters
  • Catherine Parenteau
  • Brooke Buckner
  • Jack Sock
  • Riley Newman
  • Tyson McGuffin
  • JW Johnson

Men’s Pro Singles Recap

Federico Staksrud has reached all seven Championship finals in Men’s Singles in 2024. He seems determined to achieve his goals this year. Despite numerous upsets in men’s singles, Staksrud remains consistent whenever he plays.

In 2024, the Argentinian athlete Federico Staksrud won three gold and four silver medals. His tally of three gold medals ties him with Ben Johns on the PPA Tour, making him the only other player to achieve this. In particular, no other player has won on the PPA Tour more than once. Even more impressive is that Federico now holds seven gold or silver medals, placing him far ahead in the medal count, with Ben Johns as the closest competitor, still at three.

Despite his remarkable performance, Federico remains second in the PPA Tour’s latest Power Rankings. This is because Ben Johns has defeated him in all three gold medal matches they’ve faced off in. While Staksrud is undeniably the second-best men’s singles player and the most consistent, he must secure victories against Ben to achieve the top position.

Federico showcased an outstanding performance in Houston, defeating Rafa Hewitt, Dylan Frazier, Donald Young, and Quang Duong. His combined score in these four matches? An impressive 95-38. These numbers speak volumes about his skill and dominance on the court.

In 2024, Quang Duong defeated #1 Ben Johns for the second time in the quarter-finals. Their first season match was at the Hyundai Masters, where they met in a round-of-16 progression draw. Duong had already played several matches in this format while Johns was beginning his tournament.

Gold: Federico Staksrud. Silver: Quang Duong. Bronze: Jaume Martinez Vich.

Mixed Doubles Recap

Anna Leigh Waters can not play in this tournament; that’s why Ben Johns played with Etta Wright but lost to the #2 seed, giving the #1 seed to Anna Bright & James Ignatowich. However, James aggravated a shoulder injury, so they had to withdraw. This left a big gap at the top of the bracket, which #14 Parris Todd & Zane Navratil took advantage of to reach the quarters. They faced #11 Tina Pisnik & Dekel Bar, surprise finalists from the previous week. Pisnik & Bar proved their talent by defeating Todd & Navratil in three games and then defeating #4 Jesse Irvine & Pablo Tellez in the semis to reach the final for the second week.

Final match score for the mixed doubles at the PPA Tour Champions. Ben Johns & Etta Wright from Veolia Houston took the win.

Ben faced his brother Collin (playing with Regina Goldberg) in the round of 16 and won easily. The #2 seeds defeated #10 Callie Smith & Jay Devilliers in the quarters to reach the semis. There, they faced #12 Christian Alshon & Jackie Kawamoto, who had surprised #6 Dylan Frazier & Hurricane Tyra Black in the round of 16 and then defeated #3 Thomas Wilson & Vivienne David in the quarters. Alshon and Kawamoto fought hard but lost to Ben & Wright, giving them a spot in the finals.

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In the final, Ben had a chance to win a Mixed Pro gold with someone other than Anna Leigh for the first time since late 2021, and he seized the opportunity. Pisnik & Bar were mainly kept under control throughout the match and lost in straight sets. Despite the loss, Bar finishes the weekend with two medals.

Gold: Wright & Johns. Silver: Pisnik & Bar. Bronze: Kawamoto & Alshon.

Women’s Pro Singles Recap

Lea Jansen wins her first gold medal in women’s singles since August 2021. Mary Brascia and Lea Jansen were the top seeds, ranked #3 and #4. But since many top players weren’t playing, the other top eight seeds were lower-ranked. This meant there was a big chance for new matchups and for players who hadn’t won gold before. We saw some new faces in the later rounds of the tournament.

Just won the Women's Singles Championship in Houston with a final match score of 11-3, 11-2! Time to celebrate with some Penetrex joint & muscle therapy cream

Jansen has consistently participated in women’s singles. She typically holds either the third or fourth seed in PPA events. Jansen’s singles game has been improving recently – her two-handed backhand drive and rolling drop shots have notably sharpened mechanically.

In the final, Lea Jansen dominated Samantha Parker in the Veolia Houston Open Women’s Singles, winning the match in straight sets (11-3, 11-2) on April 14th, 2024 and winning her first PPA singles gold since August 2021

Gold: Lea Jansen. Silver: Samantha Parker. Bronze: Lacy Schneemann

Men’s Doubles recap

The Men’s doubles draw didn’t have a few top-10-ranked players, but it remained competitive as the early rounds mostly followed the seedings. There were only a couple of upsets in the round of 64 and just one seeded upset in the round of 32, with #18 CJ Klinger & Jaume Martinez Vich defeating #12 Spencer Smith & Todd Fought. Klinger & Vich continued their strong performance, defeating #8 Jay Devilliers & Pat Smith before losing to the #1 seeds Ben & Collin Johns in the quarters.

Dylan Frazier partnered with Kyle Yates but was defeated by #5 Thomas Wilson & Dekel Bar in the quarters. On Saturday, the Johns brothers faced a little challenge, advancing to the final without dropping a game.

Just in: Collin Johns & Ben Johns take the title as Men's Doubles Champions at the Houston Open

There was an early upset as #2 Matt Wright & James Ignatowich were defeated by #13 Rafa Hewett & Will Howells. Ignatowich, nursing a shoulder injury, attempted to compete but struggled. Hewett & Howells were defeated by #7 Tyler Loong & Christian Alshon in the quarters. The loss of the #2 seed opened the way for Federiko Staksrud & Pablo Tellez to reach the final from the bottom half, surviving a close third game against #6 Connor Garnett & DJ Young in the quarters.

In the final, the Johns brothers dominated the #3 seeds, Staksrud & Tellez, winning convincingly in straight sets.

Womens Doubles Recap

With the regular #1 ranked team absent, Anna Bright & Rachel Rohrabacher took the top spot and aimed to bounce back from an early loss last week. They did just that, breezing through the top half of the draw, winning 8 games across 4 matches and conceding only 23 points to reach the final. The closest challenge came from #5 Lacy Schneemann & Jesse Irvine, who lost 5,6 to Bright & Rohrabacher. In the semis, #8 Lea Jansen & Tina Pisnik fell from the top half but managed to secure the bronze for the event.

Just won the Women's Doubles Championship at the Houston Open with my partner! Final match score was 11-8, 11-4, 11-9.

In the bottom half, long-time partners #2 Lucy Kovalova & Callie Smith faced a tough quarterfinal against #9 Parris Todd & Hurricane Tyra Black but advanced to the semis. However, they were defeated by the solid team of #4 Vivienne David & Jackie Kawamoto.

In the final, Bright & Rohrabacher faced intense competition from David & Kawamoto but ultimately secured victory with scores of 8,4,9. This marks their third gold medal in the last two months and closes the gap for the #1 spot on tour. Despite the loss, Kawamoto finishes the weekend with two medals.

Gold: Bright & Rohrabacher. Silver: David & Kawamoto. Bronze: Jansen & Pisnik.

Next on the PPA Tour is the Veolia LA Open starting April 17, followed by the Selkirk Red Rock Open in St. George, Utah, on April 24.