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Mathur & Mudge Successfully Defend NAO Title

The 2018 NAO final, (l-r): Yvain Badan, Damien Mudge, Mike Ferreira, Manek Mathur

Playing in their first SDA tournament since their Briggs Cup triumph in December, world No. 1’s Manek Mathur & Damien Mudge made a victorious return by successfully defending their SDA Diamond Chilton Investments North American Open title Monday night in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Top-seeded Mathur & Mudge progressed through the full draw of sixteen teams without a significant challenge on their way to the final, notching three, three-game victories.

The same could not be said for two seeds and finalists Mike Ferreira & Yvain Badan.  After a second round exit at the 2017 NAO, Ferreira & Badan faced another early exit down 2-1 in the first round against Carl Baglio & Travis Judson. Ferreira & Badan recovered to emphatically close out the fifth 15-5 and progress to the quarters.

Qualifiers Steve Scharff & James Stout nearly pulled off a first-round upset against Bobby Burns & Hamed Anvari, but fell short 12-15 in the fifth.

The draw otherwise played out according to seeding with the top four seeds contesting the semifinals. After Mathur & Mudge dispatched four seeds Clive Leach & James Bamber, Ferreira & Badan sealed their place in the final with a four-game win over three seeds Bernardo Samper & Chris Callis.

In the final, Mathur & Mudge dropped their only game of the tournament in the second, clinching the title 15-8, 13-15, 15-8, 15-11.

“Mike and Swiss played a great final,” Mathur said. “They adjusted well to our game plan, retrieved almost every ball and definitely put the pressure on. I think in the second we didn’t hit our zones which let their attack of the front court come in to play well. I think heading into the third and fourth we took some pace off to control the ball better which helped.”

(l-r) Damien Mudge, Manek Mathur, Morris Clothier, Bart Osman, Yvain Badan, Mike Ferreira

Mathur & Mudge now remain unbeaten this season with their fifth title, and continue their winning streak spanning forty-seven matches.

“Great to be back,” Mathur said. “Lots of adversity with physical and health issues for the two of us, but managed to put things behind us for the weekend and pull through with a positive mindset. Unfortunate to miss a couple events leading up to this one, but I am sure we will play a full January next season.”

The title marks Mathur’s third consecutive, having also won in 2016 with Badan. Mudge’s remarkable NAO title record now extends to his fifteenth having won his first in 2000.

“The NAO is arguably the most prestigious title on the tour so to have our name on it together again is amazing,”Mathur said. “For me especially I started my doubles career at the FCG so it means a lot to be winning this event for the third time.”

The North American Open was first held in 1931. The Greenwich doubles community perennially hosts the event at the Field Club of Greenwich, Greenwich Country Club and Round Hill Club.

“This event has grown and improved year over year,” Mathur said. “We cannot thank Chilton, Lexington Partners and The Delamar hotel enough for all their support. Steve, Liam and Rodney go through a huge amount of work to make their event run smoothly and it shows right from the first ball hit to the last. We both look forward to being back next year.”

View NAO images on the SDA SmugMug page. Watch match replays below.

Mathur & Mudge Storm to Fifth SDA Title of the Season in Greenwich

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As a nor’easter swept through the Connecticut coast Monday night, so too did the Manek Mathur & Damien Mudge storm system as they earned their fifth SDA title of the season—the SDA Platinum Chilton Investments North American Open at the Field Club of Greenwich, Greenwich Country Club and Round Hill Club.

Mathur, world No. 1, & Mudge, world No. 3, have now won five consecutive titles this season with only one loss together in the final of September’s Maryland Club Open. Mudge, the all-time NAO title holder, augments his record with his fourteenth, while Mathur marks his second consecutive title.

The Mathur & Mudge storm gathered strength after the first two rounds that saw the top seeds drop the first games 15-14 in both the round of sixteen and quarterfinals against qualifiers. In their opener, Mathur & Mudge came back against Cornell alum William Hartigan and former PSA player Clinton Leeuw to reach the quarterfinals. In what was one of just two main draw upsets, qualifiers James Bamber & Robert Burns took out Imran Khan & Greg Park in five games to set up an encounter with the top seeds. In the quarters, the qualifiers nipped the first game 15-14, but Mathur & Mudge recovered to advance to the semifinals in four.

The other major main draw upset came in the bottom half of the draw where Raj Nanda & Clive Leach knocked out two seeds Mike Ferreira & Yvain Badan 15-13 in the fifth to reach the semifinals against three seeds John Russell & Viktor Berg, who also endured a five-game quarterfinal against last weekend’s MAC champions Bernardo Samper & Baset Chaudhry. The ensuing semifinal appropriately went the distance with Russell & Berg clinching a spot in the final 15-11 in the fifth.

After the first two rounds, Mathur & Mudge steadied the ship to produce two dominant three-game victories in both the semifinals against four seeds Matt Jenson & Scott Arnold and in the final against Russell & Berg, 15-3, 15-9, 15-8.

“We definitely started off a little rusty, but all credit to those guys for coming out hot and hungry to play,” Mathur said. “Hartigan & Leeuw are great squash players and even better athletes. They did a good job about playing the long points well and keeping the pressure high. Burns & Bamber were feeling good from their win the previous day and came into the match extremely confident hitting the ball and angles well.”

“The first couple of rounds we started off a little slow and those teams played well,” Mudge added. “When the semifinals hit we were very focused and determined to play well.”

As they did in Boston just two weeks ago, Mudge augments his NAO title record with his fourteenth, while Mathur marks his second consecutive title.

“Having fourteen NAO titles is very special and to win with Manek feels amazing,” Mudge said of his record. “I can’t quite wrap my mind around it. I guess it shows how long I’ve been on tour. The NAO is a very special event. I feel lucky just to be involved with the tournament given the history that is associated with it. It’s one of my favorite events of the year.”

The NAO dates back to 1931 with Mudge’s record spanning seventeen years, 2000-2017, and four partners: seven with Gary Waite, two with Viktor Berg, four with Ben Gould and one with Mathur.

“The NAO is a very special event and arguably one of the most prestigious titles to win.,” Mathur said. “I am humbled to have my name on that trophy twice with two different partners and be part of the events rich history. Steve, Liam and Rod did a tremendous job with the organization of the event and taking extremely good care of the pros.”

“The Greenwich/Rye community is where doubles began for me and to win a title at the FCG where my journey began was amazing,” Mathur added. “It’s a first class new facility and I am excited to see that program grow to new heights. I would also like to thank all the patrons, sponsors and pro-am players for making this event a success. Without the support of Lexington Partners, Chilton, Harrow etc. this event would not be possible.”

Mathur & Mudge will sit out the Baltimore Cup before aiming for a sixth title of the season next month in Brooklyn at the David C. Johnson Memorial.

Watch North American Open replays below:

NAO Doubles and Greenwich Invitational Singles Streaming Live From Connecticut

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The 2017 Chilton Investments North American Open and Harrow Greenwich Invitational singles are streaming live from the Field Club of Greenwich, Greenwich Country Club and Round Hill Club this weekend in Connecticut.

The SDA Platinum NAO doubles, dating back to 1931, features a full draw of sixteen teams, including four qualifying draws that will play out Thursday evening and Friday morning. The main draw matches will be the first to stream live Friday afternoon.

Recent MFS Pro-Am Boston champions Manek Mathur & Damien Mudge lead the main draw as the top seeds and are predicted to face Australian four seeds Matt Jenson & Scott Arnold in the semifinals. Mathur is slated for a showdown against his 2016 title-winning partner Yvain Badan in the final, who enters the draw as the two seed with fellow Trinity Bantam Mike Ferreira.

For the third year, the Harrow Greenwich Invitational singles men’s and women’s invitationals will be contested alongside the NAO doubles with select matches streaming live.

Tournament proceeds and donations support the North American Open/Greenwich Invitational Scholarship Fund in partnership with US SQUASH, which provides financial assistance to participants in urban squash programs, as they elect to attend private secondary schools or college. To donate, visit the NAO/GO Fund page.

To watch the live stream, follow live scores and for more information visit www.naosquashdoubles.com.

 

Mathur & Badan Add Names to Historic Chilton Investments NAO Winners List

(l-r) Yvain Badan, Scott Arnold, Manek Mathur, Robin Clarke.
(l-r) Yvain Badan, Scott Arnold, Manek Mathur, Robin Clarke.

North American Open Draw

Two new names grace the Chilton Investments North American Open winners list harking back to 1931 in the halls of Greenwich Country Club as Manek Mathur & Yvain Badan captured the title for the first time against the player with the most NAO titles to his name, Damien Mudge, & Viktor Berg Monday night in Connecticut.

The Trinity grads, who spent most of their club professional careers in the Greenwich and Rye areas, enjoyed an easy start to the tournament at the expense of Graham Basset who was forced to withdraw with Andres Vargas during the second game of their first round match after sustaining a back injury.

The world No. 3’s then enjoyed a three-game victory over Canada’s Robin Clarke & Scott Arnold, who needed five games to get past Baset Chaudhry & Randy Lim in the first round.

Mathur & Badan endured a difficult semifinal against Imran Khan & Greg Park, who pushed the champions to 15-3, 15-10, 14-15, 15-12.

“Imran was shooting the lights out and he got better as the match progressed and he got comfortable,” Mathur said. “The ball change and the hot court really helped change the momentum for them compared to the first two games where we controlled the pace and attacked well at the right times.”

“It’s probably the best I’ve seen Imran and Greg play together,” Badan added. “They really made it tough for us.”

Meanwhile in the top half of the draw, top seeds Mudge & Berg progressed to the final with four-game victories in both the quarterfinals over Trinity’s Antonio Diaz & Bernardo Samper, then reaching the final on simultaneous game ball in the fourth over Matt Jenson & Hamed Anvari.

The top two seeds met in a final for the third time this season with both partnerships winning one previous encounter–Mudge & Berg in Wilmington and Mathur & Badan in Boston.

A close final saw the first two games split 15-12, 5-15 before Mathur & Badan sped away with the third 15-4. At 14-14 in the fourth, Mathur smashed a nick to seal the partnership’s first NAO title.

“The final resembled Wilmington, which was close,” Badan said of their third final against Mudge & Berg this season. “The difference there being that they won the key points, but last night we capitalized during through at those crucial moments instead. There were a lot of momentum shifts. There was a lot of fight from both sides. It’s always tough when you’re up against some of the game’s greatest competitors of all time. It’s a great feeling of achievement to come through during those crucial points against a team of their quality.”

“The NAO has so much history and magic around the event,” Badan said. “To have our names on the winners board is an unbelievable feeling. This has been our area for almost the past ten years. We have so many friends and family here who supported us. It really felt like playing at home.”

The NAO marks both the first time Mathur & Badan have won consecutive SDA titles, but also defeated a team with Damien Mudge in it twice in a row.

Since 1999, the NAO has been hosted concurrently with the Harrow Greenwich Singles Invitational featuring top PSA men’s and women’s players.

Tournament proceeds and donations support the North American Open/Greenwich Open Scholarship Fund in partnership with US SQUASH, which provides financial assistance to participants in urban squash programs, as they elect to attend private secondary schools or college. To donate, visit the NAO/GO Fund page.

“Greenwich and Rye is home for us,” Mathur added. “We have spent so much time in the area post-Trinity that we have made a lot of close friends and extended family. It was definitely heart-warming to see so many familiar faces in the crowd last night and the general excitement the place had after we won. We can’t thank the Greenwich/Rye community for all their support over the years.

“I also want to thank all the sponsors (Lexington Partners, Chilton) and patrons for all their support to making this event happen year after year. The pro-am was bigger than ever and everyone made it out to their matches amidst Jonas which speaks highly about their love for our game. I want to thank Mark Hayden for carrying me to our pro-am win as well as everything Harrow and himself have done not only for me but for the other pro’s and game in general.”

The tour resumes this weekend in Pennsylvania with the $15,000 Pittsburgh Golf Club Challenger.

Two-Time Champs Mudge & Berg Lead Chilton Invest North American Open Draw

l-r: Greg Park (l) scrambles to save a ball with partner Imran Khan (r) against Manek Mathur (r) & Yvain Badan (l).
l-r: Greg Park (l) scrambles to save a ball with partner Imran Khan (r) against Manek Mathur (r) & Yvain Badan (l).

North American Open Draw SDA Live

The Chilton Investments North American Open has had two recent traditions: being held during an east coast snow storm and Damien Mudge winning the title. At least one of these traditions will continue this weekend with a snow storm set to sweep through the east coast, while Mudge is seeded to augment his record of winning twelve NAO titles at Greenwich Country Club, Round Hill Club, and Field Club of Greenwich in Connecticut.

Fresh off of winning the St. Louis Open title last weekend, Mudge leads the draw with Viktor Berg, with whom he’s won two titles this season, and NAO titles in 2008 and 2010. Mudge had won four of the last five NAO titles with Ben Gould.

The final is seeded to be the third consecutive and fourth final of the season between Mudge & Berg and world No. 3’s Manek Mathur & Yvain Badan. Mudge & Berg won in Wilmington and St. Louis, but Mathur & Badan decisively won the Putnam Pro-Am in three games earlier this month.

Mudge & Berg are predicted to meet four seeds Mike Ferreira & Chris Callis in the semifinals, while Mathur & Badan are seeded to play three seeds Raj Nanda & Clive Leach in their semifinal.

The NAO boasts a full main draw of sixteen teams with four qualifying finals completing the main draw. Qualifying finals begin Friday morning at 11:30pm local time.

Since 1999, the NAO has been hosted concurrently with the Harrow Greenwich Singles Invitational featuring top PSA women’s players.

Tournament proceeds and donations support the North American Open/Greenwich Open Scholarship Fund in partnership with US SQUASH, which provides financial assistance to participants in urban squash programs, as they elect to attend private secondary schools or college. To donate, visit the NAO/GO Fund page.

All matches are live scoring on SDA Live.