Damien Mudge & Viktor Berg dropped only one game all tournament to capture their second SDA title of the season, and second career St. Louis Open title since first winning the Racquet Club of St. Louis event in 2008.
The champions’ only game lost came in their opening match against Trinity’s Randy Lim & Antonio Diaz Gonzales Salas, who pushed the top seeds to 15-9, 15-7, 13-15, 15-12.
Mudge & Berg, who reunited for the first time since 2009 to win the 2015 Delaware Pro Doubles in December, then progressed to the final with a three-game victory over Imran Khan & Greg Park, who had held off Graham Bassett & Andres Vargas in a five-game quarterfinal.
“We played better as the matches went on,” Mudge said. “My foot injury wasn’t feeling great at the beginning of the tournament and began feeling better towards the end, so I was able to move with more confidence, which helped a great deal.”
“I think anytime you play two matches in a day it is very important to get off court as quick and as efficient as possible. We managed to do that in the semis, which helped our case in the finals, especially with Jenson/Quick having a tough Thursday, Friday and Saturday semifinal.”
“The road to the finals is always tricky, and each match had its own unique challenges,” Berg added. “We both knew we had to be efficient in the semis.”
In contrast to the champions’ three-game semifinal victory, finalists Matt Jenson & Preston Quick endured a five-game opener against local pro Adam Bews & Peter Kelly. The veterans then made it through a tight quarterfinal over two seeds Mike Ferreira & William Hartigan. Their semifinal match didn’t do them any favors Saturday afternoon before Saturday night’s final, which stretched to five games against three seeds Raj Nanda & John Roberts.
The ensuing final was a one-sided affair, as the top seeds took the crown 15-6, 15-12, 15-8.
“We both played really solid in the finals,” Berg said. “I really enjoy playing on the RC courts with nice high ceilings, and their epic stadium-sized score board.”
“They are great guys on and off the court, so it’s always fun being out there with them,” Mudge said of Jenson & Quick.
“A big thank you to Mike Puertas and the members,” Mudge said of the hosts. “He and the membership have done great things for the Racquet Club and doubles hardball.”
“I would like to give a special thanks to Mike Puertas,” Berg added. “He is one of the best pros around. A huge thanks also goes out to all the sponsors, title sponsor Emerson, patrons, pro-am players, and staff at the Racquet Club.”
The 2016 edition of the tournament saw the prize money purse increase from $25,000 to $40,000. The title will boost Mudge & Berg’s confidence going into a third consecutive tournament this weekend as top seeds in the $40,000 North American Open.
The St. Louis Open was one of two SDA events in St. Louis in addition to the Missouri Athletic Club Open.
“St. Louis has obviously stepped up and is really embracing squash,” Mudge said. “It’s great to see. I have dear friends here so it’s fantastic to be back in St. Louis catching up with everyone.”
Watch the final replay below.