World No. 16 Baset Chaudhry signed off his 2016-2017 SDA Pro tour campaign with his third title of the season, and second title at the $15,000 Pittsburgh Golf Club Challenger with first-time partner Jonny Smith.
The Trinity graduates entered the main draw seeded second, and pulled off a perfect tournament without dropping a game, including a three-game victory against top seeds Raj Nanda & Greg Park in the final.
Chaudhry praised his first-time partner and world No. 10, Smith, for a strong performance over the weekend.
“This was our first SDA tournament together, I was finally able to persuade Jonny to partner up with me,” Chaudhry said of his partner, Smith. “I think the key over the weekend was that we kept our intensity up through every single point. We wanted to play aggressive steady squash and I think we were able to execute that quite nicely. Like any other sport, doubles squash is all about momentum and confidence. Our plan was to get to a solid start right from the beginning of the tournament and carry it through till the end of the weekend, and luckily we were able to achieve that.”
Pittsburgh marks Chaudhry’s final tournament of the season before the thirty-one-year-old returns to his native Pakistan, but revealed his desire to represent his home country in the recently-announced 2017 World Doubles this September in St. Louis.
“This was my last SDA tournament for the season,” Chaudhry said. “As many of you know, I’m heading back to Pakistan for a few months for personal reasons, but I will be back in the summer and would definitely like to compete in the world open later this year. We don’t have hardball there so will have to figure out a way to stay sharp. It’s remarkable to see the tour grow over the past few years. The addition of new events and live streaming has been very refreshing and I believe with continued support of the patrons, sponsors and the squash community, it will only get better.”
“It was great to play with Baset and even sweeter to win in his last tournament before he heads back to Pakistan, he will be missed in the U.S. squash circles,” Smith said.
Chaudhry won his first Pittsburgh title in 2014 with Nanda, and adds Pittsburgh to his Missouri Athletic Club Open and Long Island Open titles this season.
“Pittsburgh has been really kind to me for sure,” Chaudhry said. “This was my second time here and both times I have been lucky enough to clinch the title. I guess I just need to keep coming back each year.”
“The Pittsburgh doubles community was very hospitable,” Chaudhry said of the hosts. “A lot of the members had offered their residences to the players and made sure we were well taken care of, so can’t thank them enough for their support. The crowd was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable, which makes it even more fun for the players. Thanks again to Jim Shields for running such an amazing event.”