Five years after reaching the final of the 2013 World Doubles, Englishmen Jonny Smith & Clive Leach partnered up again to win the 2018 SDA Gold Baltimore Cup at the Baltimore Country Club.
The twelve-team draw played out according to seeding with top seeds Mike Ferreira & Yvain Badan setting up their semifinal with Canadian four seeds Will Mariani & Thomas Brinkman, and second-seeded Smith & Leach facing off with three seeds Raj Nanda & Greg Park.
The top two seeds set up a final show down, both recording four-game victories in the semifinals.
In the final, Smith & Leach edged a close second game 15-13, before sprinting through the third and final game 15-3 to claim the title.
Just a month ago, Smith had won what had been his largest career SDA title in Delaware with Badan. The world No. 8 now celebrates a new career milestone with his first SDA Gold title. Leach, world No. 12, marks his first full ranking title of the season and first since the World Doubles Men’s title in September 2017.
“The way we played each match over the weekend it seemed like we had played the last five seasons together,” Leach said. “Our chemistry and strategy was very positive and we just tried to keep it simple. Johnny played very solid and consistent all the way through—especially the final where we kept the relentless pressure on. Our strengths were using different weights of shot, being on the attack and resetting points when needed—and we executed that very well.”
The Baltimore Cup is one of two regular SDA tournaments in Baltimore with the Maryland Club taking a brief hiatus as the club adds a third doubles court. Outside of the SDA draw, the BCC hosted a WSDA exhibition between Natarsha McElhinny & Narelle Krizek and Latasha Khan & Stephanie Hewitt. A men’s singles invitational was also held alongside the doubles, with Luke Forster winning the competition. Local pro Wade Johnstone played in both events and made the final of the singles invitational.
“I personally really enjoy both the Baltimore stops at the BCC and the Maryland Club,” Leach said. “Great clubs with very passionate memberships. Always so hospitable and accommodating to all the players. I would like to thank Jay Bewley and Wade Johnstone for once again for all their hard work putting on such a great event.”
View images on the SDA SmugMug page. Watch Baltimore Cup replays below.