In his first SDA tournament since winning the World Doubles title for England in September, John Russell and new partner Scott Arnold both claimed their first career PDC Cup title at Piedmont Driving Club in Atlanta, Georgia.
Russell & Arnold first experimented with their partnership in the final tournament of the 2016-2017 SDA season, in which they stormed to the Buffalo Club Pro Doubles without dropping game.
The Russell & Arnold partnership would make it two for two in Atlanta, enduring a grueling Saturday that saw them come back from 2-1 down both in the Semifinals against four seeds Jonny Smith & Viktor Berg, and again just three hours later against top seeds and defending champions Mike Ferreira & Yvain Badan.
In total, Russell & Arnold’s court time on Saturday clocked in around four and a half hours.
“Saturday was a marathon day of squash for us,” Russell said. “We had a game plan going into both matches and we believed that if we could keep focused on that and not get sucked into something different, we’d have a great chance of winning. Our team chemistry definitely improved as the event progressed and we definitely figured out each others strengths weaknesses.”
Arnold rekindles his Canadian championship-winning partnership with Robin Clarke at the Jim Bentley Cup this weekend, which Russell will sit out.
“It feels great to win in our first event of the season,” Russell added. “I’d like to thank Ahmed hamza and all the tournament committee members for running such a fantastic event. It’s my first time playing the event and will definitely be back next year.”
On the brink of an early exit in the PDC Cup quarterfinals, Mike Ferreira & Yvain Badan fought off multiple match balls to recover and pull together their second SDA Tour title run of the season at the Piedmont Driving Club in Atlanta, Georgia.
The tournament’s top seeds encountered fellow Trinity Bantams Baset Chaudhry & Bernardo Samper in the quarterfinals and found themselves down 14-13 in the fourth game, at which point Ferreira returned a serve with a backhand volley winner to force a simultaneous match and game ball at 14-14. After two lets, a Badan cross court gave them new life in the fifth game, which they pulled out 11-9.
“It was a very tough quarterfinal against Bernado and Baset, which we managed to get through, albeit by razor thin margins in the fourth,” Ferreira said. “They are a solid team and when we drew them in the quarters we knew we were going to have a tough game. We were fortunate to win a very tight fourth game, where we came back from behind twice to win and that definitely gave us some confidence and momentum going into the fifth game.”
“We had a good win in a tough match against them in NYAC, so to Mikey’s point, we knew it was going to a difficult match and we were prepared to be there for as long as it would take.” Badan added. “Obviously, we were very lucky in fourth game. Mike is a fierce competitor, so it’s great to have him by my side during these close/tight matches.”
Australians Matt Jenson & Scott Arnold met the top seeds next in what was their second consecutive semifinal appearance following St. Louis, but couldn’t get past Ferreira & Badan, losing in four games. In the bottom half of the draw, Jonny Smith & Chris Callis—first-time partners this season—reached their first final together as the three seeds. Smith & Callis upset two seeds Raj Nanda & Viktor Berg in the semis, coming back from a game down to reach the final in four games.
A close final saw both the second and third games decided at 14-14, both of which Ferreira & Badan capitalized on to win the title in three games.
“Obviously is felt amazing to win the final,” Badan said. “Smith & Callis had a great tournament defeating Berg & Nanda in the semis, so again we were well prepared for a tough match. At 14-14 all, anything can happen.”
“In the finals we played well and a pretty consistent game against a good team,” Ferreira added. “I think all the players were a little tired already with us both having played a tough semi and high quality pro am matches earlier in the day. We managed to be disciplined and for the most part stuck to our game plan. Winning at 14 all is always a little bit of a toss up but I think our mentality was to play those point even a little harder and with more intensity and really hope for the best.”
Ferreira marks his maiden PDC Cup title, while Badan celebrates his second in addition to the 2014 title with Manek Mathur.
“We are both really excited and pleased with our performance this weekend,” Badan said. “It is an amazing Event and an amazing crowd, which makes the title even more meaningful. For me personally to win a Platinum Event twice, with two different partners, is a great feeling. We want to thank Ahmed and everyone from the PDC who makes this event happen. We already look forward to seeing our friends from the PDC next year.”
“It felt really great to win down at PDC,” Ferreira said. “It is such a great club and the membership showed us a fantastic time down there and I am already looking forward to next year.”
World No. 1’s Damien Mudge & Ben Gould avenged their 2014 PDC Cup final loss against Manek Mathur & Yvain Badan in dominant fashion, the defending champions 15-4, 15-10, 15-4, to reclaim the title at the Piedmont Driving Club in Atlanta, Georgia.
Their third PDC title in just as many years (including two titles in 2013 when the event was played in fall and spring) marks three titles in three tournaments so far this season for the Australian powerhouse, adding to the Maryland Club Open and Big Apple Open last weekend.
Saturday presented a difficult challenge for the four remaining teams, with the semifinals taking place at noon, and the final scheduled for later that evening.
The top two seeds were both sure to advance in three games, with Mudge & Gould taking out four seeds Viktor Berg & Hamed Anvari, 15-9, 15-6, 15-11, and Mathur & Badan over fellow Bantam Jonny Smith & Greg Park, 15-14, 15-9, 15-6, setting up a replay of the 2014 final that saw Mathur & Badan upset the top seeds in four games.
This weekend was a different story, however, as Mudge & Gould powered through the final, dropping the least amount points in a match all tournament 15-4, 15-10, 15-4.
“Anytime you play two matches in one day it’s important to be as efficient as possible, which is what we were able to do,” Mudge said. “Last year definitely left a bad taste in our mouths, so we were able focus ourselves to play our best. We played a very smart game and executed extremely well hitting our targets and having great positioning.”
What has become a PDC traditional black tie event ensued following the final.
“The PDC are great hosts,” Mudge added. “They run a very good tournament and hospitality is second to none.”
Mudge & Gould now have the opportunity to make it three titles in three weekends as the top seeds in the Bentley Cup in Toronto.
Both sides advanced to the final after three-game semifinal victories early Saturday afternoon. Mudge & Gould defeated four seeds Hamed Anvari & Victor Berg 15-9, 15-6, 15-11, while Mathur & Badan took out three seeds Jonny Smith & Greg Park 15-14, 15-9, 15-6.
Both sides have lost just one game all tournament leading up to the finals.
The largest prize money tournament of the SDA season so far, the $40,000 Piedmont Driving Club Cup, is streaming live from Atlanta, Georgia, this weekend with top seeds Damien Mudge & Ben Gould seeded to collide with defending champions Manek Mathur & Yvain Badan in Saturday’s final.
Fresh off of their second title of the season last weekend, the Big Apple Open, Australian world No. 1’s Mudge & Gould will aim to reclaim the PDC cup after falling in a five-game final against two seeds Mathur & Badan last year.
The Trinity graduates reunite to defend their title in what will be their first tournament together this season having played with different partners in each tournament this season so far.