One week after winning the final platinum event of the season—The David C. Johnson Memorial at Heights Casino, Brooklyn, Damien Mudge & Ben Gould have extended their 2014 undefeated run in Maryland claiming their second Baltimore Cup in the tournament’s sophomore iteration at the Baltimore Country Club. The Baltimore Cup title also adds to the Australian duo’s season-opening Maryland Club Open title—also hosted in Baltimore at the Maryland Club
Last weekend, the World Doubles Champions’ route to the title seemed effortless without dropping a game on the way to the title. By contrast in Baltimore, the joint world No. 1’s yielded the occasional blemish on what was otherwise another stellar title run.
Up against quarterfinal opponents Graham Bassett & Ian Power—who previously scraped by Irish brothers Dan & John Roberts with the slimmest of score lines 15-14, 15-13, 14-15, 15-14, Mudge & Gould sped to a 2-0 lead before Bassett & Power shot their way to a third-game, 15-14 win. Mudge & Gould responded swiftly to win the fourth 15-4.
As in the David Johnson, Mudge & Gould faced a semifinal opponent involving Michael Ferreira who has deservedly jumped up eleven spots from thirty-five to twenty-four in March’s rankings after reaching three consecutive semifinals unseeded and twice as a qualifier. Rekindling his North American Open semifinalist partnership with Baset Chaudhry—who also jumped two places in the latest rankings from sixteen to fourteen—Ferreira’s side held their own against Mudge & Gould nearly forcing a fourth game reaching 12-13 in the third. Mudge & Gould absorbed the comeback attempt with two long, ferocious rallies to win in three and set up a fifth final against world No. 3 and 4 Paul Price & Clive Leach.
The tour welcomes back Matt Jenson who made an emotional return to the tour after missing a few tournaments due to a death in the family, echoed in his tweet leading up to the tournament: “Finding great solace in competing on this great tour. Great competitors, great guys…. Good to be back!”
Jenson made an emphatic return with Raj Nanda dispatching qualifiers Julian Illingworth & Todd Ruth 15-4, 15-5, 15-9, setting up a quarterfinal clash against Price & Leach. A tight four-game match saw Jenson & Nanda fight off a few match balls to force a fourth game, which Price & Leach clinched to win 15-12, 15-13, 14-15, 15-13.
The first-time partnership of Imran Khan & Greg Park awaited Price & Leach in the semis as the higher-seeded Price & Leach prevailed 15-14, 15-14, 15-10.
The tournament intensely culminated in a final between the top four players in the world, and stood on a knife’s edge two games in with the score at one-all, 15-14, 14-15. Having pulled away at the vital moments late in the third and fourth games, Mudge & Gould prevailed 15-12, 15-12 to win their ninth title of the season.
“The court at the BCC is one of the slower courts on tour which favors a team like Price & Leach who are known for their ability to hit winners from anywhere on the court,” said Gould. “We knew we would have to be moving and countering well in order to win. We didn’t play our best and the match was back and forth the whole way but we were both able to rise and focus when we really needed to.”
“I felt we played ok, not quite as sharp as we were in the Johnson, but when it counted we stepped up,” Mudge said. “The final was intense with close games throughout the match. We were fortunate to have the edge most times.”
Not entered Hashim Khan, the joint world No. 1’s will close out their season in Cleveland. Having won the only two editions of the Baltimore Cup, Mudge & Gould look forward to another opportunity to defend their title next season.
“The BCC is a great host venue,” Mudge concluded. “The members are very enthusiastic and passionate about the tournament. Patrick Bedore and Jay Bewley do a great job running the event on and off court.”
“The BCC did an amazing job this weekend,” Gould continued. “Their professionalism and attention to detail is second to none. Crowds were packed and very vocal, which is always fun to play in front of. The SDA players look forward to returning next year!”