The 2016-2017 SDA Pro Tour season has revealed new partnerships in the season-opening Maryland Club Open, including champions and first-time partners Mike Ferreira & Yvain Badan.
The trinity graduates entered the draw seeded second with world No. 2 Damien Mudge forging a new partnership on the right wall with Badan’s former partner on the left wall, world No. 3 Manek Mathur, to top the draw as the one seeds.
The top half of the draw also saw the return of Baset Chaudhry to the tour. The Pakistani, who once cracked the top ten rankings two seasons ago, teamed up with Colombian and fellow Bantam Bernardo Samper in qualifying. A semifinal run ensued with Chaudhry & Samper taking out Andres Vargas & Hamed Anvari in the first round, then upsetting four seeds and England’s world doubles champions John Russell & Clive Leach in a four-game quarterfinal. Mathur & Mudge then continued their partnership’s strong start with a second three-game victory in the semis over Chaudhry & Samper.
The eventual champions endured a more difficult road to the final including a five-gamer in the semis against three seeds Viktor Berg & Raj Nanda, winning 15-11 in the fifth after squandering a 2-0 lead.
“I think we competed well together under pressure this weekend—tough semi which we managed to pull out in five and obviously a very tough final,” Ferreira said. “Mathur & Mudge are the team to beat this season and heading into the final alone to play against them was an accomplishment.”
In Sunday’s final, Ferreira & Badan edged out a five gamer 13-15, 15-14, 15-13, 11-15, 15-13.
“I think our goal was to play a tough and consistent game against them,” Ferreira said of the final. “There are not too many weaknesses on that team—so being able to stay with them and not give them too much of a lead gave us an opportunity to make a run at some of the big points.”
A potential final rematch between the two new power partnerships could be in store at the Big Apple Open later this month.
“Great start to the season but early days as well,” Ferreira said. “Looking forward to continuing to be able to compete with Yvain in some of the other great locations/events that we have coming up this season. Thank you to Andrew Cordova and the Maryland Club for hosting such an outstanding event!”
View all results on the SDA Maryland Club Open page.