New Format, Notable Upsets, Favorites Advance

Day 1 of a new championship and Day 1 of a new format.

But a lot of the same for the top players.

Ben Johns advanced in singles, mixed doubles and men’s doubles, Anna Leigh Waters advanced in all three brackets as well and the National Championships in Dallas is now headed to the round of 16 after Wednesday’s action.

With the one-round-per-day format, fans get to see lots of players in different disciplines and players won’t be on the court competing in more than one match per bracket per day.

It’s a change.

“I had a bye in singles today and had only one match,” Waters said. “Today was weird. I’ve never had a tournament where I had one match that day. I’m not sure what to do for the rest of the day. Friday, Saturday and Sunday will feel like a Championship Sunday if I can get there.”

Well, she’s off to a good start as she advanced easily in mixed doubles with Johns, beating Ivan Jakovljevic and Barbora Vykydalova in three games, and Waters and partner Catherine Parenteau also are set for Thursday after getting a bye in the first round.

Meanwhile, Johns advanced with no problems, winning his singles match in a pair of games and winning alongside brother Collin in the men’s bracket in consecutive games as well.

There were a pair of notable upsets, including Lina Padegimaite and Stefan Auvergne beating the seventh-seeded team of Dylan Frazier and Callie Smith in five games, coming back from down 6-0 and 8-4 in the deciding game. Also, Meghan Dizon and Yates Johnson earned a five-game victory over the 10th-seeded team of Julian Arnold and Lauren Stratman.

“We were dialed in and were making it up to the kitchen every time,” Padegimaite said. “We stayed disciplined and we trusted each other.”

It was a good day for the youngsters in men’s singles. Seventeen-year-old Quang Duong and 18-year-old William Sobek each won their first-round match.

Duong will take on fourth-seeded J.W. Johnson in the second round. Sobek will go up against third-seeded Connor Garnett.

Duong, a decorated junior tennis star, still plays tennis every day, doing it to stay in shape for pickleball. He practiced pickleball, not tennis, for two hours Wednesday morning before his match win against No. 20th-seeded Roscoe Bellamy.

“I just try to focus every match,” he said. “My goal right now, honestly, is to take a set off of Ben Johns.”

Well, that could come, although it won’t be Thursday in the PPA’s new format used this week. Johns is up against Chris Haworth in the round of 16. All 10 of the tournament’s top-10 seeds advanced in the men’s draw.

On the women’s single side, Waters will take on 17th-seeded Jamie Haas on Thursday morning. The top six seeds all got byes into the round of 16. Notably, eighth-seeded Simone Jardim will take on ninth-seeded Jorja Johnson in the round of 16,

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