Top seeds John Russell & Viktor Berg won the second SDA title of the season, and are the first team to appear on the winners list of what was the inaugural Missouri Athletic Club Open this weekend in St. Louis.
Newly-appointed squash professional and SDA professional Adam Bews founded the $20,000 event at his new home club. Both MAC locations hosted matches and housed the players.
“Having played the tour and making friends with a lot of guys during my time in Greenwich, I wanted to expose my membership to top quality men’s doubles and give them a fantastic experience,” Bews said. “Members loved the event and many seeing pro Men’s doubles for the first time couldn’t believe what they were seeing. They loved the pros and we will have them all back!”
Bews added local color to the main draw, defeating Josh Cardwell & Joey Roberts in the only qualifying match with partner Mike Puertas, who runs the SDA St. Louis Open at the Racquet Club of St. Louis.
Bews & Puertas entered the main draw against Russell & Berg, who dismissed the locals in three games, which included simultaneous game ball in the second.
Russell & Berg then dropped one game in their semifinal against Boston’s Graham Bassett & John Roberts to set up a final against another pair of SDA veterans Matt Jenson & Preston Quick.
Jenson & Quick also reached the final in four-game semifinal against Canadians Fred Reid & Justin Todd. Reid & Todd had upset Trinity alums and two seeds Carl Baglio & Andres Vargas in the first round 15-13, 12-15, 15-14, 15-11.
The final marked Jenson & Quick’s first since claiming the 2014 Hashim Khan title, and first final since Jenson’s recovery from an Achilles injury that kept him away from tour for a year.
With the top 4-ranked players barred from entering the Bronze draw including Russell’s regular partner Clive Leach, the English world doubles champion rekindled his partnership with Viktor Berg, with whom he has maintained an undefeated record in their few appearances together including the 2010 Jim Bentley Cup and a number of invitationals.
Russell & Berg maintained their undefeated record together, notching a second title in what began as a close final before Russell & Berg pulled away to win the title in the fourth 15-6, 13-15, 15-10, 15-5.
“The final was a close, competitive match with some highly entertaining points with lots of movement,” Russell said. “Jenson only had achilles surgery eleven months ago and has made a remarkable recovery from such a serious operation.”
Their partnership saw Russell occupy the left wall, while Berg shifted to right wall duty.
“Viktor and I have played together a few times in invitationals before so weren’t completely new to each other’s games,” Russell said. “We have also played against each other many times so know each other’s games really well.”
“John and I team up very well, he’s such a great competitor” Berg said. “In fact, we are undefeated after playing a few events together. The final played out well for us. Preston and Matt are a pleasure to play against, and John played unbelievably well.”
Berg, who won the 2015 St. Louis Open title, and Russell are both excited to have another St. Louis event on the calendar.
“Adam did a great job hosting and organizing,” Berg said. ” First class event, and great playing at the two MAC locations.”
“It’s great to see a second event in St. Louis,” Russell said. “Adam Bews ran a first rate event in which the players were extremely well looked after by the members. Many thanks to all the patrons for making this possible.”
Bews looks forward to bringing the SDA tour back to the MAC after positive reception of the event from the club membership.
“Things went great and all ran smoothly,” Bews said. “It was a unique experience for the pros being able to stay at the club they were playing at. They were all fantastic at mixing with the members and playing some great pro ams. Thanks to all of them for making the trip!”
All matches are available for video replay on SDA Live.
The SDA tour returns to St. Louis January 14-16 for the $40,000 St. Louis Open at the Racquet Club of St. Louis.
The SDA tour resumes November 6-9 in New York City for the $30,000 Big Apple Open.