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Mudge Extends Kellner Cup Record to Ten Titles; Mathur Marks Maiden Title on Home Court

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l-r: Peter Kellner, Manek Mathur, Damien Mudge, George Kellner, Jonny Smith, Chris Callis.

Seventeen years since claiming the inaugural Kellner Cup in 2000 with Gary Waite, Damien Mudge earned a record tenth title in the twelfth staging of the biennial $50,000 tournament co-hosted in New York City by the Union Club, Racquet & Tennis Club and University Club. Racquet & Tennis Club head professional and left-waller Manek Mathur adds his name to the Kellner Cup for the first time alongside Mudge on his home R & T court.

The full main draw of sixteen teams largely played out according to seeding save for one major quarterfinal upset that saw John Russell & Viktor Berg beat two seeds Mike Ferreira & Yvain Badan 15-8, 7-15, 15-14, 15-13.

Australian four seeds Matt Jenson & Scott Arnold fought off a first-round scare against one of the surprise teams of the season, Bobby Burns & James Bamber, coming back from two games down to reach the quarterfinals in five—the only main draw five-gamer of the weekend.

The tour bids Andres Vargas farewell after the Colombian reached the main draw with fellow Trinity graduate Randy Lim, eventually bowing out against Mathur & Mudge. Vargas returns to his native Colombia this summer before relocating to Madrid, Spain in the fall where he will pursue a business degree.

The tournament culminated with a packed gallery for the final Monday night at the Racquet & Tennis Club. For the first final in tournament history, all three host clubs were represented by their head professionals in Mathur (R&T), Mudge (University Club) and Smith (Union Club).

The top seeds emphatically captured their eighth title of the season, defeating Callis & Smith 15-8, 15-12, 15-7, completing their tournament run without dropping a game all weekend.

“This is obviously a very special tournament for all of us,” Mudge said. “It’s special to have your R&T head pro Manek, Jonny from the Union Club, myself, and someone like Chris Callis all on court in the final is remarkable, and hasn’t happened before.”

Mudge’s incredible record of ten titles now spans seventeen years and four partners: six with Gary Waite (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006), one with Viktor Berg (2008), two with Ben Gould (2013, 2015) and now his first with Mathur.

“A big shout out to the Kellners, they are such a class act,” Mudge said. “I’ve known George for nearly twenty years, and what they’ve done professionally for squash, and personally, from the smallest to the largest things. Gary Waite reached out to George back in 2000 about starting this event, so thank you so much George for leading the charge ever since and starting this great tradition.”

The final marked the end of season for both Callis & Smith, who sit out of the two remaining events, the Tavern Club Invitational and Buffalo Club Pro Doubles. The new partnership enjoyed a successful season having frequently reached semifinals, and making three final appearances at the PDC Cup, Baltimore Cup and Kellner.

“Congrats to Damien and Manek, they were so good tonight,” Smith said. “As everyone mentions, Damien is so phenomenal and has his name everywhere and so many times. He’s an incredible athlete on court, and great guy off court. Manek, you are so young, I can’t imagine the future you have ahead of you. It was really special for the three head pros to be on court together tonight, it’s an amazing achievement. Thanks to my partner, Chris. We’ve had an amazing season together and thanks to the Kellners for making all of this happen.”

Mathur’s status on the tour has drastically changed since his Kellner Cup final loss against Mudge & Gould in 2015. Since that final, Mathur has taken up both Gould’s former position as the Racquet & Tennis Club head professional and as Mudge’s partner.

“When you start playing doubles you hear about the Kellner Cup, and by far it’s the one event that you want your name on. I’m absolutely honored to have my name on there with players like Damien, Ben Gould, Gary Waite and all of the legends of squash doubles. Thanks to the SDA, we have a lot of board members here. The brain power behind this board is just tremendous, and the game has grown so much in the past five years thanks to them.”

Mathur & Mudge will aim to end their season with a ninth title out of ten tournaments this weekend in Cleveland at the Tavern Club Invitational.

“Chris and Jonny did well to get to the final, so congrats to them on a great tournament,” Mathur said. “Last but not least, thanks to my partner, Damien. Every event you go to, you see his name on every wall—and not just once. It’s an absolute pleasure playing with you, I’ve grown so much on and off the court this season playing with you so thanks so much for this season.”

The penultimate event of the season, the $35,000 Tavern Club Invitational, will take place this weekend April, 27-29.

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Biennial Kellner Cup Returns to NYC; Live Stream Select Matches

One of the highest prize money events on the SDA Pro Tour, the biennial $50,000 Kellner Cup, returns to its perennial home in New York City this weekend at the Racquet & Tennis Club, University Club and Union Club.

Four qualifying draws kick off Thursday evening to complete the full sixteen-team main draw, which will be contested over four days at the three host venues. Select matches will be live streaming on Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday, and all matches live scoring throughout the weekend on www.sdaprotour.com/live.

The team of the season so far, world No. 1 Manek Mathur & world No. 2 Damien Mudge, lead the draw as the top seeds in search of their eighth title of the season in their ninth tournament. Mudge is in search of his tenth Kellner Cup title since 2000, which would be with his fourth partner.

Two seeds Yvain Badan & Mike Ferreira will hope to earn their third title of the season, which would be their first since November’s PDC Cup. The joint world No. 3’s handed Mathur & Mudge their only loss of the season at the Maryland Club Cup in October.

Australian four seeds Matt Jenson & Scott Arnold are predicted to challenge the top seeds in the semifinals, but face a difficult first-round match against the breakout team of the season, Bobby Burns & James Bamber.

Two weeks after claiming the Tompkins Cup with Bernardo Samper, world No. 10 Chris Callis returns to his partnership with world No. 9 Jonny Smith as the three seeds.

View the full draw on www.sdaprotour.com.

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Samper Takes Birthday Spoils With Callis in Tompkins Cup

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(l-r): Mike Ferreira, Yvain Badan, Rob Whitehouse, Chris Callis, Bernardo Samper.

Colombia’s Bernardo Samper earned his second SDA Tour title of the season during the weekend of his thirty-fifth birthday with first-time partner Chris Callis in the Tompkins Cup final Monday night at Racquet Club of Philadelphia.

Samper, who reached the final of the 2015 Tompkins Cup with Baset Chaudhry, went one better after joining forces with Callis. Samper & Callis, the two seeds, got off to a running start with a three-game opening win over Travis Judson & Parth Sharma, but found themselves one game away from elimination in the semifinals when three seeds Imran Khan & Greg Park earned a 2-0 lead. Samper & Callis recovered to reach the final with an emphatic fifth game 11-15, 10-15, 15-9, 15-12, 15-5.

“All credit to Imran and Greg in the semis,” Samper said. “They completely outplayed us in the first two games. We found our length on the third game, which gave us more openings to attack. I knew Chris and I were keeping ourselves mentally tough through the hard rallies and that was going to pay off. There was just a good energy between us.”

In the top half of the draw, one seeds Mike Ferreira & Yvain Badan also needed five games to get past four seeds John Russell & Raj Nanda in the semis, holding off the comeback on simultaneous match ball 15-13, 15-12, 11-15, 11-15, 15-14.

A close final Monday night saw Samper & Callis claim two simultaneous game balls in the first and final fourth game to win the title 15-14, 7-15, 15-10, 15-14.

“The final could’ve been any direction,” Samper said. “We just managed to play better the last rally of each game. Taking the third game was crucial. It was a great final and I respect Yvain and Mikey on and off the court, so for this reason it was my best win so far.”

The Tompkins Cup, which has previously been held biennially as a full ranking event in 2013, 2015, marked its largest prize money fund in 2017 with $25,000.

“Losing in the final in 2015 and coming back this year with a new partner and on my birthday was just very special,” said Samper, who adds the Tompkins title to his 2017 Missouri Athletic Club Open title. “Thank you Chris for hanging in there with me. Hopefully next year I can come back to another final.”

Samper & Callis will enter the next SDA Tour calendar event, the biennial $50,000 Kellner Cup, on different teams, April 20-24.

April 2017 Rankings

1-Apr Name Country Tournaments Average 1-Mar
1 Manek Mathur India 9 3885.417 1
2 Damien Mudge Australia 9 3791.667 2
3 Mike Ferreira England 8 3066.667 4
3 Yvain Badan Switzerland 9 3066.667 3
5 Viktor Berg Canada 8 2300.000 5
6 Scott Arnold Australia 8 2222.917 7
7 Matt Jenson Australia 8 2106.250 8
8 John Russell England 8 2070.833 10
9 Jonny Smith England 11 2046.429 9
10 Chris Callis U.S.A. 7 2035.000 6
11 Baset Chaudhry Pakistan 10 1642.857 11
12 Bernardo Samper Colombia 9 1604.167 12
13 Raj Nanda Australia 8 1505.208 13
14 Greg Park U.S.A. 10 1425.446 15
15 Clive Leach England 7 1360.625 17
16 Imran Khan U.S.A. 8 1334.375 16
17 Bobby Burns U.S.A. 8 1150.521 23
18 Will Mariani Canada 6 1131.875 19
19 Freddie Reid Canada 13 1130.556 18
20 Andres Vargas Colombia 12 1114.453 20

 

Complete Ranking List

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Largest Graham Company Cup Attracts First-Time Champions Mathur & Mudge

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For the first time in the Graham Company Cup’s eighteen years, the tournament elevated its prize money to the $25,000 SDA Silver level, opening the event up to the tour’s top teams including world No. 1 and world No. 2 Manek Mathur & Damien Mudge, who recorded a seventh consecutive title this weekend at the Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia.

For the second consecutive tournament, the top seeds did not drop a game on the way to claiming a seventh title out of eight tournaments this season.

The twelve-team main draw played out according to seeding with the top four teams progressing to the semifinals. While Mathur & Mudge needed just three games against four seeds Raj Nanda & Clive Leach to reach the final, two seeds John Russell & Yvain Badan came back from 2-1 down to beat three seeds Johnny Smith & Chris Callis in five games.

In the final, Mathur & Mudge fired their way to their inaugural Graham Company Cup title 15-8, 15-10, 15-13.

The Graham Company Cup was the first SDA event in a month since Mathur & Mudge claimed the Johnson Memorial title in February—also without dropping a game.

“Tough to say we picked up where we left off after the Johnson, but we were definitely working on using our positive momentum as we head into this event,” Mathur said. “Damien came in this weekend so strong and it showed throughout the weekend. He makes the court so small, for me on the left too! It’s incredible to be out there with him and watch him do his thing.”

Both Mathur & Mudge made their Germantown debut thanks to the increased prize money in 2017.

“I have never played at Germantown and was excited to be there,” Mathur said. “It’s home to a lot of good squash players and was extremely glad that they raised the prize money to make it a major event. It’s a very unique club with a lot of history and for sites like that to take the next step is a great place for our tour to be in.”

View images on the tournament Smugmug page.

Watch Graham Company Cup replays below.