Bamber Celebrates First SDA Title in Philly with Alexander

(l-r): Greg Park, Graham Bassett, Rob Whitehouse, Zac Alexander, James Bamber

England’s James Bamber celebrated his first career SDA Tour title in his third full-time season on the SDA Pro Tour, lifting the Tompkins Cup with Aussie partner Zac Alexander at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia.

The fifth edition of the biennial SDA challenger tournament saw Alexander & Bamber lead the draw as top seeds, opposed by Americans Graham Bassett & Greg Park.

The tournament’s sole upset was courtesy of Kyle Martino & Adam Perkiomaki, who held off a five-game comeback against three seeds Alex Domenick & John Roberts, advancing to the semis 15-9 in the fifth.

Alexander & Bamber advanced to the final without dropping game, dispatching locals James Asher & Ricky Weisskopf in the first round and Canadian four seeds Carl Baglio & Robert Nigro in the semifinals.

Bassett & Park also recorded two three-game wins to reach the final, first against Sujat Barua & Ben Hughes in the first round followed by Perkiomaki & Martino in the semis.

The final proved to be all Alexander & Bamber, who after edging a close second game 15-12, emphatically clinched the title 15-2 in the third.

“It’s been a good past two seasons learning more and more about the game with each tournament I play,” said Bamber, who earned a career-high ranking of world No. 12 this month. “Partnering with Zac this past weekend was a great experience and it’s nice to win my first event with a very good friend!”

While the Tompkins Cup marked their first proper appearance on tour together, Alexander & Bamber are well acquainted with each other having worked together at the Round Hill Club in Greenwich, Connecticut.

“We’ve played many times together since we worked at Round Hill so we had a good understanding of each other’s game and personality,” Bamber said. “It’s great to play with a player of Zac’s caliber as you know he won’t be making many errors throughout the match and reads the game so well–even on the left wall.”

Alexander, who also reached a career-high ranking this month at world No. 8, marks his third title of the season.

“The Racquet Club of Philadelphia took great care of us this weekend,” Bamber said. “I had a lot of fun playing in the Pro-Am and ended up winning it with my partner Rob Gundlach.”

The Tompkins Cup has been hosted as a full ranking event every other year since 2012.