One week after winning the longest-standing tournament on the SDA Pro Tour—the David C. Johnson, Jr. Memorial—world No. 1’s Damien Mudge & Ben Gould have extended their hegemony over one of the tour’s youngest events by winning their third Baltimore Cup title in the tournament’s third year at the Baltimore Country Club.
Seeded first all three years, the Australian powerhouse once again held true to their seeding, dropping only one game on their way to the title, which also happened to be their first against Joshua Schwartz & Ian Power. Schwartz & Power had recovered from 2-0 down against Ed Garno & Narelle Krizek, to win their opening match in five games. Schwartz & Power held a surprise 1-0 lead over the heavy favorites with a 15-12 win in the first, but ultimately squandered their early lead to lose the quarterfinal in four games 15-12, 9-15, 5-15, 5-15.
Mudge & Gould endured another challenge from fourth-seeded Fred Reid & Raj Nanda, who defeated Carl Baglio & Jeff Osborne in their opener. Baglio & Osborne—who made the trek from Australia—had previously come out on the winning end of the only other five-game match of the tournament over Aaron Lugue & John Woodhams. In their semifinal, Reid & Nanda pressed the eventual champions into three tight games, but fell short 15-13, 15-14, 15-13.
Third-seeded Imran Khan & Greg Park made it two Baltimore Cup semifinal in two years with a three-game victory over Johan Detter & Ned Marks. Khan & Park met second-seeded world No. 4 Manek Mathur & world No. 3 Yvain Badan in the semis, after the Trinity grads held off first-time partners Graham Bassett & Andres Vargas in the quarters.
Despite Badan nursing a slight arm injury, the Bantams booked their place in the final in three games 15-9, 15-10, 15-7.
The final match up was the eighth between the tour’s top two teams this season, and a repeat of last week’s Johnson Memorial final, with Mudge & Gould boasting a 7-1 record over Mathur & Badan this season.
Unlike a narrow final between the two sides in Brooklyn, Mudge & Gould commanded the final to win the two bottles of champagne in three games 15-10, 15-12, 15-12, while Mathur & Badan were consigned to six packs National Bohemian.
Mudge admitted the world No. 1’s are looking forward to a few weeks of rest before the season culminates with the Tavern Invitational, $50,000 Kellner Cup, and World Doubles in May.
“Every match we played this weekend we got more and more focused,” Mudge said. “It’s been a tough couple of months in particular playing back-to-back with the Johnson last weekend. We are both excited to have six weeks off.”
“Baltimore is very enthusiastic when it comes to squash doubles,” Mudge said of the host venue and city. “We see some of the more passionate spectators watching, it makes it fun to play in front of them.”
To view all scores, visit the official Baltimore Cup tournament page.