Chris Callis & Manek Mathur continued their strong form over recent weeks with a third-straight title at the biennial Kellner Cup–narrowly won in a two-hour final marathon final against James Stout & Scott Arnold Monday, May 2, in New York City.
One of the most prestigious events on the SDA calendar, the $50,000 Kellner Cup draw attracted a full draw of sixteen teams, including four qualifying draws–and was hosted across three clubs, the Racquet & Tennis Club, University Club and Union Club.
Qualifiers John Hughes & Eric Bedell nearly pulled off a first-round upset earning a 2-1 lead over Adam Bews & Colin West, eventually falling 15-8 in the fifth. Canadian qualifiers Matthew Henderson & Cole Osborne were able to pull off a first-round upset over former world champion Clive Leach & Graham Bassett in four.
The biggest surprise of the first two rounds came in an all-English match up between Jaymie Haycocks & Chris Walker and four seed Michael Ferreira & James Bamber, which the unseeded Haycocks & Walker claimed 15-11, 15-13, 14-15, 15-13.
Top Seeds James Stout & Scott Arnold, the latter of which entered as the defending champion, enjoyed a straight-forward path to the final with three 3-0 wins, including topping Bews & West in the semis 15-14, 15-11, 15-7.
In the bottom half of the draw, recent Boston Pro Am and Tavern Club champions Chris Callis & Manek Mathur endured tests against Clinton Leeuw & Ryan Cuskelly in the quarterfinals and pulling out a four-game semifinal against three seeds Zac Alexander & Greg McArthur 15-11, 15-6, 11-15, 15-6.
The tournament culminated with the match of the tournament as the top two seeds duked out a two-hour final at the R&T, and Callis & Mathur capturing their partnership’s first Kellner Cup title 15-8, 11-15, 14-15, 15-13, 15-11. Watch a replay of the final on the SDA Youtube channel.
“It was probably one of the most exciting and most competitive doubles matches I’ve played in my career, if not the most competitive,” Mathur said. “I think every single point on the court was so contentious and played with so much intensity, which made it fun for everyone watching, but it was also extremely fun for us on court. James and Scott played an incredible match, they executed their strategy perfectly, which put us back our heels and forced us to rethink on the fly and find a way to counter their game plan and strategy. When you’re playing matches at that level you have to find a way to win, but also not find a way to lose, and there were a lot of times in that match that we were playing not to lose. A big thanks to my partner Chris, it was an extremely grueling match with him seeing a lot of rubber. Chris’ mental strength and tenacity really showed up to find ways to dig deep and find the strength to keep playing strong and come out as a team on top. I’m so grateful to be on court sharing these memories with him and I look forward to our next event together.”
Mathur celebrates his second Kellner Cup win after his 2017 triumph with Damien Mudge, while Callis collects his first.
“Big thank you to all of the sponsors and patrons especially James Stout, Suzie Pierrepont and Johnny Smith for doing a great job at the three venues,” Mathur added. “Events like this are not easy to put on. There are a lot of logistics between the three clubs and pro ams, and everything that goes into it. So big thank you to them.”