As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. And, for the first month of Pickler’s Pickleball Picture of the Month, we have three pictures!
Let’s first set the stage! Let’s go back to a hot Saturday, June 1st afternoon on the pickleball courts at the 2019 Atlanta Open. Pickleball fans crowded around the fence surrounding the featured pickleball court and searched for shade, as they settled in to watch the semi-finals of the Women’s Pro Doubles bracket, featuring the mother-daughter duo, Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters (who is a whopping 12 years old!), against the perennial powerhouse, Lucy Kovalova and Irina Tereschenko.
Unlike the typical double elimination bracket of most pickleball tournaments, where players play a best two out of three games in the winner’s bracket, the 2019 Atlanta Open changed up the bracket rules. In the 2019 Atlanta Open, the last four remaining teams in the pro divisions were re-seeded—in other words, the number one seed played the number four seed, and the number two seed played the number three seed. The winners then played each other for gold and silver medals, and the losers battled it out for the bronze medal. These semi-finals and final pickleball matches featured a best three out of five games, which set the stage for a brutal battle under the hot Atlanta sun for the final four teams.
With the pickleball fans in place, Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters took the pickleball court to face off against Lucy Kovalova and Irina Tereschenko. The first four games, which were split 2-2 between the Waters-Waters team and the Kovalova-Tereschenko team, featured long rallies and epic volleys between the four hard-hitting pickleball pros. All four pickleball pros had to dig deep and had to grind it out in the final, tie-breaking, winner-take-all fifth game.
Lucy Kovalova and Irina Tereschenko jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, which some may have thought unsurmountable for Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters. However, for the pickleball faithful that watched Leigh Waters and Catherine Parenteau in the 2018 USA Pickleball National Championships in Indian Wells, California, you probably remember that Leigh Waters faced a similar 7-0 deficit to Kovalova and Tereschenko before Waters and Parenteau rallied to win. In other words, Leigh Waters has recently shown that a 7-0 deficit to Kovalova-Tereschenko is no death sentence.
Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters slowly climbed back, and even battled off a match point from Lucy Kovalova and Irina Tereschenko. Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters hit back-to-back net cords at 10-10 to win the fifth, winner-take-all game with a final score of 12-10.
Pickler’s first Pickleball Picture of the Month shows Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters happily cheering and celebrating a huge victory, as Irina Tereschenko dives into the Kitchen to try to save the falling pickleball off the net cord—the thrill of victory.
Since this is our first Pickler’s Pickleball Picture of the Month, we have some bonus pictures from this same pickleball match point, which both show the professionalism in defeat. The first features Irina Tereschenko just after diving to try to save the pickleball match. Irina, a true professional, smiles in defeat after an unlucky break caused by the pickleball net.
The second features Lucy Kovalova, a great partner, lending a hand to her partner after giving her all in an epic pickleball battle to remember from the 2019 Atlanta Open.
After such an exciting (and hot, long, exhausting) semi-final, Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters fell to another powerhouse duo, Corrine Carr and Simone Jardim. As a result, Corrine Carr and Simone Jardim took home the gold, while Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters took home the silver. Lucy Kovalova and Irina Tereschenko finished with the bronze. Congrats to these pickleball pros on their spectacular performance at the 2019 Atlanta Open! They did not disappoint!
Do you have any epic pickleball pictures? Share with us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured in Pickler’s Pickleball Picture of the Month next month!
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Since returning to professional pickleball this year, after taking a long COVID hiatus, Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters have been traveling the country for pickleball tournaments. But, one thing that that they have not done in a really long time is take a family vacation... until now. Learn about Team Waters' trip to Costa Rica from Leigh herself, which included as much, or more, pickleball than at home in Florida, monkey spectators, family bonding, surfing, and a lot of new friends made on the Costa Rican pickleball courts, which reminded them how much fun the great sport of pickleball really is.