APP Cincinnati Recap

Recap of my time at the APP Cincinnati Open
By: Jack Foster, Niupipo Athlete


The Cincinnati Open was the APP’s fifth tour stop of the year. It was located at Sawyer Point, right in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. It’s an incredible venue and is one of my favorite places to play. I especially love the design and layout of the center court. The atmosphere was great all weekend there and it was even standing-room only on Saturday and Sunday. I competed in all three pro events: singles, mixed doubles, and men’s doubles. The brackets were a bit lighter than usual due to Major League Pickleball occurring the same weekend, but there were still many good players and the competition was intense. Below is a recap of my results in Cincinnati: 

Men’s Singles

The men’s singles event was a test of endurance and mental fortitude. Challenges were faced before this event even started – it was raining on singles Thursday and we were forced to move indoors. The APP did a great job of locating a nearby indoor venue to ensure that the bracket could still be played. It’s always an adjustment going from slower, grittier outdoor courts to faster, slicker indoor courts. I personally prefer to play outdoors due to the slower court speed and the challenge of enduring the elements, but was just thrilled to be able to play singles on a rainy day outdoors. Each match was unique and pushed me hard in different ways, and I was really fortunate to end the day with a bronze medal.

  • Round of 16: Defeated Alexander Crum 4-15, 15-11, 16-14
  • Quarter Finals: Defeated John Cangelosi 16-14, 15-9
  • Semi-Finals: Lost to Grayson Goldin 14-16, 6-15
  • Bronze Medal Match: Secured bronze by defeating Stephen Madonia 15-6, 12-15, 15-9

Each match was crazy. I was lucky to save several match points in my first round against Alex, he was playing lights out and my goal was to just “endure the storm”. Grayson was really tough indoors, his forehand was unstoppable and I didn’t have many looks to stay in it after a tough first game. In the bronze, I think both Stephen and I were mentally exhausted, and after a long 3-game battle, I was happy to end up on top and barely squeak out the bronze. Grayson and Stephen are both newer players, but they are rapidly improving and will be around for a long time to come. 

Mixed Doubles

In the mixed doubles event, I teamed up with an awesome partner and friend, Arielle Butler. We had a good week at the US Open prior to this event, and were expecting good things to happen. We didn’t medal, we lost a close 3 game battle to Simone Jardim and Jaime Oncins. In the backdraw, we faced a red hot Etienne Blaszkewycz who seemed to come out on top in every hands battle at the net. AB was a super supportive partner and solid all day, I would play with her any time again. In mixed, I’m still trying to find the balance between being aggressive and causing chaos while making smart shot selection. 

  • Round of 32: Lost to Simone Jardim & Jaime Oncins, 11-3, 2-11, 3-11  
  • Backdraw 2nd Round: Lost to Etienne Blaszkewycz and Christa Gecheva, 6-15  

Men’s Doubles: Teamwork and Triumph

Playing men’s doubles with my partner Jason Bock was a great experience. Jason and I had never played before, our first time hitting together was the evening before the event. We had great chemistry all day and our games meshed pretty well after squeaking by a tough first round. Our side of the draw opened up a little and we made the most of the opportunity. Matches were intense, but good communication helped us get through.

  • Round of 16: Defeated Ronan Camron and John Cangelosi 4-11, 11-4, 11-9
  • Quarter Finals: Defeated Zack Taylor and Tanner Tomassi 11-7, 11-4.
  • Semi-Finals: Lost to Rob Nunnery and Ryler DeHeart 4-11, 7-11.
  • Bronze Medal Match: Secured bronze by defeating Brandon Lane and Jayden Broderick 11-9, 12-10.

Jason and I were down in our first round doubles match 2-9 in the third game. Things weren't looking great, but we buckled down and played really solid, slow points with a lot of dinking and waiting to speed up at the right time. A few fortunate net cords and shots went our way, this seems to always occur in comebacks. We lost to the eventual gold medalists, Rob and Ryler, who played really solid. Ryler’s soft game and hands have improved so much over the past year, and Rob is almost impossible to get a ball by. His speed ups are really deceptive and his counters come back with a pace. The bronze match was a grind, I don’t think I sped up a single ball and just dinked 100 times back and forth with Jayden. It really could have gone either way and we came out on top after being down at points during both games. 


Cincinnati was a great weekend for me, but it really shows the thin margins in this sport. A couple points go another way, and I could have lost early on in all three events. Being in these tight situations is a great learning experience that hopefully improves my mental toughness. I’m grateful for the support from Niupipo, the APP for putting on a great tournament, and my partners + family for sticking by my side. Looking forward to the next one!