Sunday, October 9th, 2022
The APP Alabama tournament in Opelika didn't disappoint with 453 registered participants under covered courts with some great talent in the pro draws.
(Photo credit: APP Tour)
Rafa Hewett and Lauren Stratman team up and win their first gold medal together in mixed doubles. Stratman has been playing with boyfriend Julian Arnold lately, but switched it up with lefty Hewett and it paid off. Although this team did not have to play Jorja Johnson and Gabriel Tardio, our first pick to win, Hewett and Stratman were able to get through Megan Fudge and Ryler DeHeart in the winners bracket final as well as in the gold medal match. Fudge and DeHeart had a great day of playing as they defeated Johnson and Tardio twice in the day landing them a silver medal. Beating Johnson and Tardio once is difficult but twice just shows they've got their number...no accidents there. We expected more from Tardio this weekend as he did not medal in singles or men's doubles. Although, it was a tough field of men in singles with Julian Arnold and Pablo Tellez in the mix, Jack Foster comes up with the goods and frustrates Pablo Tellez to get a chance for the gold against Julian Arnold, who ultimately, was just too good for Foster, defeating him for the gold 11-6, 11-3.
(Photo credit: APP Tour)
Bobbi Oshiro is consistent as consistent comes. She doesn't play a ton of tournaments, but she is miss reliable. She isn't fancy or flashy, tall or loud, but she is going to put the ball over the net for you that one more time you need. Don't let her tininess fool you, she can smack a ball when appropriate, too. It's no surprise that she teamed up with friend Jorja Johnson. Their games compliment each other very well, which showed as they had a pretty easy road to the gold medal match. Maggie Remynse and Lauren Stratman did give them a run for their money in the gold, however Remynse and Stratman figured out their own rhythm with their new partnership a tad too late as Oshiro and Johnson grabbed the gold.
(Photo credit: APP Tour) A break out star in Ewa Radzikowska as she took a Women's Pro gold in her very first singles pickleball tournament, ever. She barely defeated Alix Truong, she also defeated Bobbi Oshiro and then Megan Fudge in the gold medal match. If she continues to play, we are on high alert with her fresh talent, obviously a transfer over from tennis. She is 43 years young, close in age to Simone Jardim and Susannah Barr. Welcome, Ewa! Megan Fudge forfeited her first round to watch an intense match that her husband, Ryler DeHeart was playing. Due to this, she had to crawl through the back-draw, defeating Ava Ignatowich, Jorja Johnson, Alix Truong and Bobbi Oshiro. Radzikowska put a stop to the streak as she beat Fudge in straight sets for the gold. Did you notice anything at the APP Alabama Open? Let us know in the comments!