Haworth Upsets No. 1 Johns in Round of 16

Chris Haworth wasn’t that happy after his mixed doubles and his men’s doubles performances left him 0-2 at the National Championships in Dallas.

He and partner Jenna Hessert were bounced out of the second round of qualifying on Tuesday and didn’t make the main draw in mixed doubles. And Haworth and partner Ross Whittaker were beaten in three consecutive games against Julian Arnold on the men’s side Wednesday in the first round.

That left Haworth with one bracket to play in and one area to concentrate on.

Oh, and the No. 1 player in the world to play against.

“Being only in singles, unfortunately, it helped my preparation,” Haworth said. “I changed up my prep today.”

Whatever it was and however the prep went – it worked. The concentration was there and Haworth got the most notable win of his career.

Haworth took down Ben Johns, the most-decorated player in PPA history, with an 11-4, 11-4, round of 16 victory.

“I’m not surprised,” Haworth said. “I believe in myself and my game, and I know I can beat anybody. I’m glad today was that day.”

“Today” had been building for a while. Haworth has had some success in his career, getting two APP Tour silver medals and reaching the semis once in his PPA Tournament career, so it’s not like Haworth didn’t know how to win.

But this one is something different.

“Everyone knows Ben is the best,” Haworth said. “But I believe in myself. The mental game is a huge issue. The finals that I made and the bigger matches I’ve lost have come down to mental toughness. I struggle with it because pickleball is so quick. It’s easy to get unraveled and lose a few points in a row and then it turns into six or seven points and then the whole match. Today I was locked in mentally.”

Haworth got the benefit of a few shots that hit the net cord and went his way, and Johns gave away a few points, too.

“I think he got frustrated for sure,” Haworth said. “He gave me some free points. I’ll take them.”

Next up for the 16th-seeded Haworth is a quarterfinal matchup against Collin Shick, who has a similar story as Haworth. They both came out of qualifying at the Florida Open, a PPA Tour stop back in March, with Haworth making the quarterfinals and Shick running all the way to the finals. Shick has a silver and a bronze medal in singles on the PPA Tour. He beat eighth-seeded Gabriel Joseph on Thursday, 11-7, 4-11, 11-6.

The rest of the top seeds held form Thursday with second-seeded Tyson McGuffin, third-seeded Connor Garnett and fourth-seeded J.W. Johnson all winning.

But back to Haworth, who said he spent most of the day Thursday talking with friends and answering text messages after his first-career win against Johns.

He recently has cut back on his duties teaching tennis and has devoted more time and energy toward practicing pickleball.

Next up: Getting some more eyes on his game from potential sponsors, getting noticed, and getting to the medal stand.

“It’s been awesome,” Haworth said. “This is a good tournament to have some success at.”

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