Stout & McArthur Finish SDA Season With a Flourish in Buffalo

(l-r) Greg McArthur, Scott Arnold, James Stout, John Russell

One month after their triumph at the R&T Challenger, James Stout & Greg McArthur closed out the 2017-2018 SDA season with a flourish, by claiming their first SDA Gold title at the second Buffalo Pro Doubles at the Buffalo Club in New York.

Stout & McArthur’s only lost game of the tournament came in the first round against Canadians Tyler Hamilton & Robert Nigro, who were dispatched in four games. The R&T Challenger champs then upset four seeds Adam Bews & Zac Alexander in a decisive three-game quarterfinal. Elsewhere in the draw’s bottom half, Bobby Burns & Omar El Kashef knocked out two seeds Fred Reid & Clive Leach in four games to reach their first career SDA Gold semifinal together. Stout & McArthur ended Burns & El Kashef’s surprise run in the semis to reach their second consecutive final.

In the top half of the draw, both seeds advanced to the semifinals where defending champions and top seeds John Russell & Scott Arnold held off Will Mariani & Thomas Brinkman in four games.

The final proved to be a one-sided affair as Stout McArthur dethroned Russell & Arnold 15-8, 15-7, 15-6.

“We were playing well heading into the tournament, having won the R&T Challenger, but knew there would be stiffer competition with Russell and Arnold looking to defend their title, and four or five other strong pairs playing,” Stout said. “Greg and I played well on the court and felt confident that we could slow down the pace of the game with high lobs and soft shots to the front of the court, whilst also taking the ball early and injecting pace when necessary.”

Stout & McArthur first made a statement this season by reaching the semifinals of the David C. Johnson Memorial, which they followed up with another strong performance in New York City by winning the R&T Challenger–their first title together in five years.

The Buffalo Pro Doubles was just the fourth SDA appearance of the season for the Stout & McArthur partnership with both players juggling other responsibilities outside of the tour. Stout is also a full-time Rackets professional, while McArthur is a professional at Sleepy Hollow.

(l-r): Bill Cleary, Scott Arnold, John Russell, James Stout, Greg McArthur, Tom Hayes

“It’s exciting to win our first SDA Gold event,” McArthur said. “It definitely felt like we were continuing our momentum from the previous two events and did well to execute our game plan again this weekend. It’s been tough for James and I to regularly play on the tour over recent seasons, and to be honest I wasn’t sure of playing many SDA events in the future, but these last three tournaments have really given us a confidence boost and proven that we can compete with and beat the top teams. Hopefully we can continue to improve next season.”

“It feels great closing out the season with a win in Buffalo, especially with it being an SDA Gold event,” Stout said. “The 2017-2018 season was really positive for Greg and I, as we played well in all the tournaments and managed to win the last couple of events as a bonus. We hope to keep moving forward next season.”

2018 marked just the second edition of the Buffalo Pro Doubles, which was initially held as an SDA Silver event last season.

“This was my first time playing in Buffalo and I was impressed by how well run it was,” McArthur said. “Credit to the organizers for raising even more prize money to make it a gold event this season. All of the pros appreciated the hospitality and it was great to see such a knowledgeable and passionate doubles membership. I’m looking forward to coming back next year to defend our title.”

With the Buffalo Pro Doubles, the 2017-2018 SDA season comes to a close. Next moth, the third annual SDA combine will introduce new prospects to the game on June 2 at the Apawamis Club in Rye, New York.

Watch live stream replays below. View images in the SDA Smugmug gallery.

May 2018 Rankings

1-May Name Country Tournaments Average 1-Apr
1 Damien Mudge Australia 7 4387.500 1
1 Manek Mathur India 7 4387.500 1
3 Scott Arnold Australia 7 3422.500 3
4 John Russell England 5 3022.500 4
5 Yvain Badan Switzerland 9 2968.750 5
6 Mike Ferreira England 9 2750.000 7
7 Chris Callis USA 7 2432.500 6
8 Jonny Smith England 7 2370.000 8
9 Bernardo Samper Colombia 9 2327.083 9
10 Clive Leach England 11 2108.929 10
11 Greg Park USA 10 1685.714 12
12 Will Mariani Canada 7 1680.000 14
13 Raj Nanda Australia 9 1658.333 11
14 Adam Bews Scotland 8 1633.333 13
15 James Bamber England 7 1546.250 16
16 Thomas Brinkman Canada 4 1480.000 17
17 Viktor Berg Canada 4 1365.000 15
18 Freddie Reid Canada 7 1331.875 19
19 Clinton Leeuw South Africa 11 1265.179 22
20 Zac Alexander Australia 6 1251.875 24

 

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Mathur & Mudge Complete Undefeated SDA Season in Cleveland

Damien Mudge (l) and Manek Mathur

Manek Mathur & Damien Mudge accomplished an undefeated season when the world No. 1’s successfully defended their SDA Gold Tavern Club Invitational title in Cleveland, Ohio.

Mathur & Mudge’s 2017-2018 season ends with a fifty-four match unbeaten streak, six titles and retaining the joint world No. 1 ranking.

While the final was no surprise between the top two seeds, the twelve-team draw produced two shock quarterfinal results that sent both the three and four seeds out of the tournament.

The top half of the draw saw Adam Bews & Colin West dispatch four seeds Clinton Leeuw & Omar El-Kashef in three games to reach their first semifinal together, where they would ultimately fall against Mathur & Mudge.

In a familial affair, John Roberts & Jordan Greenberg opened their tournament by defeating Joey Roberts & Gavan Hitchenor. Roberts & Greenberg nearly squandered a two-game lead in their quarterfinal against four seeds Mike Ferreira & Zac Alexander, who just won a doubles gold medal at the Commonwealth games. After dropping the fourth on simultaneous game/match ball, Roberts & Greenberg pulled off of the upset 15-11 in the fifth to reach the semis.

Two seeds John Russell & Scott Arnold reached their third final of the season without dropping a game, ending Roberts & Greenberg’s run in a three-game semifinal.

Russell & Arnold carried their momentum into the final against the top seeds in their first match up since the Briggs Cup, decisively winning the first game 15-6. Mathur & Mudge regained their composure during the break, however, tipping the match in their favor to claim the title 6-15, 15-10, 15-14, 15-10.

“Russell & Arnold are a great team,” Mudge said of the PDC Cup champions. “They have good ball control and good structure on court, so we had to adjust our games in order to come back from the first game loss. If you are going to beat that team it will take patience and precise structure.”

“Matches against them are always well contested and we were ready for a battle,” Mathur said. “The first game was them really finding their groove and us being on our heels and not pushing up in the court. We had to slow the ball down a bunch and really be disciplined with our game plan for the next few games.”

Mudge now marks his fourth career undefeated season on the pro doubles circuit, having previously recorded one undefeated season with Ben Gould and two with Gary Waite.  Mathur marks his first career undefeated season.

“It’s always great to win, but to finish an undefeated season with Manek was really special,” Mudge said. “These things don’t happen that often in ones career, so to have the opportunity to do it was amazing! It is a pure pleasure playing with Manek. He is such a strong player and such a good person. I feel privileged to be with him for the last two years.”

While the undefeated season is his first, Mathur has now won three consecutive titles at the Tavern Club, the first of which came with Gould in 2016.

“This is my first undefeated season and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about it headed into Cleveland,” Mathur said. “Cleveland is a special place for me. I have always enjoyed going out there to see family and in turn, made a lot of great relationships with the members at the Tavern Club. Quick shout out to my pro/am partner, Matt Brinn, who has played with me for the last four years. We finally clinched the coveted title! I am lucky to have Damien on my side and he’s a great mentor and friend through the process. We faced a lot of adversity this season and to manage staying undefeated means a lot to the two of us.”

The Tavern Club Invitational has been held annually since 2006. Mudge has now won all but four of the events with a total of nine titles.

“Big thank you to Ian Sly,” Mudge said. “He does an amazing job at the tavern club and really takes care of the pros.”

“Ian Sly and his team deserves a massive kudos,” Mathur said. “They run such a special tournament, members are very enthusiastic and the club on the whole is very welcoming and respectful to the pros. I speak on behalf of all my fellow pros that we can’t wait to be back out in Cleveland. Rumor has it that soon there will be a Mudgie poster on the building to replace Lebron!”

The 2017-2018 SDA season comes to a close with the SDA Gold Buffalo Pro Doubles, May 10-13.

Stout & McArthur Win First Title Together in Five Years at R&T

(l-r) Manek Mathur, Jordan Greenberg, Jacques Swanepoel, James Stout, Greg McArthur, Liam Culman

Five years and one month after capturing the 2013 Graham Company Challenger title, James Stout & Greg McArthur have won their second SDA Tour Challenger event together—the Racquet & Tennis Club Challenger in New York City.

Stout & McArthur entered the eight-team main draw as the two seeds, while Fred Reid & Clive Leach opposed them as the top seeds.

The first round saw three of the four top seeds advance to the final, not including top seeds Reid & Leach who crashed out 15-12 in the fifth at the hands of Travis Judson & Ned Marks.

In the semis, Stout & McArthur dispatched U.S. doubles champions Alex Stait & Ed Garno in three games, while four seeds Jacques Swanepoel & Jordan Greenberg reached their first final of the season—also in three games—against Judson & Marks.

In the final, Stout & McArthur pulled ahead in the first two games 15-8, 15-10, but Swanepoel & Greenberg pulled one back in the third 15-10. Stout & McArthur regained control in the fourth to clinch the title 15-8.

“The spirit in which the final was played was really great,” McArthur said. “Jacques and Jordan are good friends of ours. Kudos to those guys for being good competitors and good sports. It was a competitive match, but we all had a great time out there. I think the spectators saw that and appreciated it.”

“We played well all weekend and knew if we could do that, we would be in with a chance of winning the event,” Stout said. “It feels great to have won the tournament and means even more being able to do it with Greg, at the Racquet Club, my home club. Can’t believe it has been five years since we won the Graham Company tournament. Hopefully it won’t be another five years before our next win.”

Stout, who also doubles as a full-time Rackets professional, and McArthur, a pro at Sleepy Hollow, normally only play a handful of SDA events throughout the season due to schedule constraints. The R&T Challenger was just their third event of the season, but not their only successful one.

“This season James and I have played a few tournaments together, and it’s been a relatively good run,” McArthur said.” We had a really good run in Brooklyn reaching the semis, and this felt like we were continuing that momentum. It’s nice to win again, I didn’t realize it’s been five years since our last win. We just haven’t played that many tournaments together in that time. James is such a great partner. He’s such a great athlete, he has great hands. He’s also an easy going guy, which makes him fun to play with. It’s always nice to get a win with someone you consider to be one of your best friends.”

The 2018 R&T Challenger was just the third iteration of the biennial event, which is helmed by R&T head pro and SDA world No. 1 Manek Mathur and R&T’s Liam Culman.

“It’s such a fantastic venue,” McArthur said. “Arguably, they have the most visually-stunning doubles court out there. With the sky lights and everything, it’s a beautiful place to play. A big thank you to Manek Mathur and his pro staff for the job they did running the tournament. It’s never an easy ask, and we really appreciate the work they have to put in to make the event happen. It’s just a fun place to play. The membership is a really knowledgeable group so it’s fun to play in front of them.”

“I personally really enjoyed the event, but that is because it is my home club and I know everyone involved, including all of the pro-am players,” Stout said.

The SDA season moves on to its penultimate event this weekend, the Tavern Club Invitational in Cleveland, April 26-28.

Watch live stream replays below.

April 2018 Rankings

1-Apr Name Country Tournaments Average 1-Mar
1 Damien Mudge Australia 8 4489.583 1
1 Manek Mathur India 8 4489.583 1
3 Scott Arnold Australia 7 3312.500 3
4 John Russell England 7 3072.500 4
5 Yvain Badan Switzerland 11 2830.357 5
6 Chris Callis USA 9 2779.167 7
7 Mike Ferreira England 10 2642.857 6
8 Jonny Smith England 8 2558.333 8
9 Bernardo Samper Colombia 11 2396.429 9
10 Clive Leach England 11 2108.929 10
11 Raj Nanda Australia 12 1753.125 11
12 Greg Park USA 12 1646.875 13
13 Adam Bews Scotland 7 1610.000 14
14 Will Mariani Canada 10 1597.321 12
15 Viktor Berg Canada 4 1565.000 16
16 James Bamber England 9 1489.063 17
17 Thomas Brinkman Canada 4 1410.000 15
18 Imran Khan USA 5 1365.625 18
19 Freddie Reid Canada 8 1355.208 19
20 Robin Clarke Canada 3 1350.000 20

 

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