Trinity grads Manek Mathur & Yvain Badan avenged their Wilmington final loss against Damien Mudge & Viktor Berg to win their first career SDA Putnam Pro-Am title and first title of the season Sunday afternoon at the University Club of Boston.
The world No. 3’s dropped just one game all tournament as the two seeds, which was capped off with an emphatic 15-10, 15-10, 15-6 final victory over the top seeds and world No. 2 Mudge. The $40,000 Putnam Pro-Am is their first title since the 2014 PDC Cup.
The champions’ only game lost came in their opening quarterfinal against Matt Jenson & Hamed Anvari. Mathur & Badan then dispatched fellow Bantam Jonny Smith & Greg Park on simultaneous game/match ball in the third game of their semifinal.
Mudge & Berg endured a difficult road to the final that began with a four-game quarterfinal victory over Graham Bassett & Andres Vargas. Canadian doubles champions Robin Clarke & Scott Arnold continued their fine form by reaching their second consecutive semifinal with an upset over four seeds Clive Leach & Imran Khan in the quarterfinals.
The 2015 rookies of the year then won the opening game against Mudge & Berg, before the veterans recovered to reach the final in four games 14-15, 15-5, 15-14, 15-10.
Last month in Wilmington, Mudge & Berg had reunited after five years to win a dramatic five-game final. Mudge then won the prestigious Briggs Cup in the last tournament of 2015 with long-time partner and fellow world No. 1 Ben Gould, who announced his retirement upon winning the Briggs.
The close Wilmington final contrasted the Boston final with Mathur & Badan maintaining complete control on their way to the title.
“I think in this final we felt more in control,” Badan said. “The Wilmington final was a great match that I think was lost because they were better during several crucial points. This tournament fortunately, we had a strategy that we executed very well. Throughout the match we felt really good and in control, and things rolled our way.”
“I think the difference today was that we commanded our positioning and the pace and we were in control of the match from the beginning,” Mathur added. “Normally someone like Damien always finds his way early on the match, but I think today we had a great strategy from the beginning that kept us in control. We found our way well around court so that we controlled it, which helped us control the rallies and win the match.”
The champions received plenty of local support from a packed gallery during the final.
“Boston is a special place for us,” Mathur said. “Because we went to Trinity in Hartford, we have so many friends, teammates and classmates in the area who came to support us. The closest place to us apart from Connecticut and New York is Boston so it’s great to win close to home and with such great support. It’s great to win there for the first time.”
Their Putnam victory brings Mathur & Badan one step closer to the world’s top rankings.
“We’ve always had our sights set on that No. 1 ranking,” Badan said. “It’s just another obstacle that we have to get over to get the top. We worked pretty hard over the break, and that fired us up so it’s great to see hard work and effort paying off. It’s great to come back after three weeks with this win.”
Over the weekend the SDA honored tournament organizers Lenny Bernheimer, Tom Poor, and the University Club of Boston for hosting twenty-five years of pro doubles in Boston. .
“It’s a great event,” Mathur said. “Lenny Bernheimer, Tom Poor, and all of those guys do a great job. The event has been around for twenty-five years so it’s an awesome event to show you how doubles has grown but also maintain consistent support with longstanding events such as this. Their incredible support is so important to the tour.”
Mathur sits out the St. Louis Open next weekend, and Badan will partner with another Bantam in the form of world No. 9 Mike Ferreira as the two seeds. Mudge & Berg are once again top seeds.
Watch match replays on SDA Live.