Thursday, October 28, 2021

Locals Win U.S. Open Pickleball Championships

Players from Naples and Ft. Myers won two of the three major titles in the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships, Saturday, May 4 at the East Naples Community Park.

Simone Jardim of Naples, widely considered the top woman player in pickleball, won the mixed doubles title with Kyle Yates of Ft. Myers and also won the singles title. Yates also won the men’s title with partner Ben Johns.

It was the third straight U.S. Open mixed doubles championship for Jardim, who is the only pickleball player to win back-to-back triple crowns at the U.S. Open, winning the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles in 2017 and 2018. This year she just missed repeating, losing in the women’s double final with partner Corrine Carr to Lucy Kovalova and Irina Tereschenko, 5-11, 6-11. It was only the second loss for Jardim at the U.S. Open—she’s won 45 matches.

The Lely High school color guard was on hand at the finals.

Yates, who grew up in Ft. Myers, won his fourth straight U.S. Open doubles title—with three different partners. It was Yates’ second mixed doubles championship at the U.S. Open.

Jardim, 39, and Yates, 23, took down Kovalova and partner Matt Wright 5-11, 11-8, 11-6 to break a three match losing streak to the duo. Jardmin and Yates were crowd favorites with their local ties.

In the men’s doubles, Yates and Johns duked it out against Wright and Dave Weinbach, taking a hard fought 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 win.

This year’s U.S. Open, considered the premiere event in Pickleball, was considered a huge success by organizers Terri Graham and Chris Evon.

“We can definitely feel the difference in attendance from the previous two years,” Evon said. “The stands have been packed all week. We really had a feeling early on that we had a lot more spectators than we’ve had in the past. The U.S. Open is the bucket list for pickleball players. We have 18 countries and 46 states represented.”  

Kyle Yates is ecstatic following a key point in the mixed doubles final.

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