Day 2 Wraps Up At p1440 San Jose
It really couldn’t have worked out much better, could it?
Every element of p1440 differentiates it from every other tour in the world—the ability to mix teams from various countries, no cap on a country quota and the abundance of wild cards (kudos of the invitational format) was not coincidentally—it was the highlight of day two in San Jose.
A Cinderella, last-minute wild card? Check. Agnieszka Pregowska and Jessica Gaffney, a late addition to the main draw entry list after the withdrawal of Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, became the darlings of the tournament—putting on an exhaustive Saturday run through the contender’s bracket—four on Saturday alone. It was a run that included three-time USC National Champs, Allie Wheeler and Nicolette Martin (22-20, 21-19); Olympians in Nicole Branagh and Lauren Fendrick (18-21, 21-14, 15-11); and a crack at tour founder and all-time great Kerri Walsh Jennings and Anouk Verge-Depre in the quarterfinals. And there the run would end, but where one dazzling run came to an end, another continued its nearly two-decade long dominance. Once almost a bygone conclusion, it has been two years since Walsh Jennings has competed on a Sunday at a major tournament.
In the debut event of the tour she helped co-found, she finds herself in quite the familiar position: Competing against the best in the world—Brazilians Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado on a Sunday.
Ah, yes, there’s another element that has gone quite smoothly: The final day of p1440’s opening event will feature the top-ranked teams in the world for both the men and the women. Antonelli and Salgado have dropped just a single set all weekend, to a Floridian pair out of the satellite qualifier, Kim Hildreth and Sarah Schermerhorn (14-21, 21-8, 15-11). On the men’s side, Norway’s torrid young duo, Anders Mol and Christian Sorum have won all three matches, outscoring their opponents by a combined 37 points.
“It’s a good thing,” Miles Evans said, pointing to the bracket, “we don’t have those guys.” Evans and partner Billy Kolinske, the first player signees of p1440, aside from Walsh Jennings and Casey Jennings, pushed through to the semifinals as well, rebounding from a 21-14, 21-15 loss to Norway with a 29-27, 21-18 win over Jennings and Pedro Solberg. It marks Evans’ first career Sunday, “unless you count Seaside,” Evans said, laughing and Kolinske’s fourth. They’ll match up with Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Martins Plavins, a pair of Olympians who teamed up in the absence of Samoilovs’ injured partner, Janis Smedins.
The other side of the men’s bracket will feature an equally intriguing American-international final between four-time Olympian Reid Priddy and Jeremy Casebeer, and Mol and Sorum. The men will kick off Sunday’s action at 9 a.m., while the women’s semifinals begin at 10:15 with Walsh Jennings and Verge-Depre on stadium against Antonelli and Salgado. Canadians Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson will play the hybrid team of Brazilian Tiana Lima and the Netherlands’ Jolien Sinnema.
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