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Smith & Badan Reunite to Triumph in Delaware

The 2018 Delaware Pro Doubles final, (l-r): Greg Park, Yvain Badan, Jonny Smith, Will Mariani)

The 2018 Delaware Pro Doubles draw was stirring before it even began. Shortly before the tournament began, John Russell was forced to withdraw from his top seeded partnership with Chris Callis due to injury, with Jonny Smith stepping in to replace his fellow Englishman. Shortly thereafter, Callis sustained an injury and was forced to withdraw, which saw Yvain Badan step in to rekindle his former partnership with Smith as the top seeds at Wilmington Country Club.

Smith & Badan made it seem as though they had been playing together all along with a decisive three-game victory in the first round to set up a semifinal against Canada’s Tyler Hamilton & Robert Nigro. After a narrow five-game loss in Boston, Hamilton & Nigro once again faced match balls in the first round Bobby Burns & Hamed Anvari, but this time fighting them off to win the tournament’s only five-gamer 13-15, 15-10, 12-15, 15-14, 15-12.

The Canadians took an early advantage against the top seeds by winning the first game 15-11, before Smith & Badan regained control to advance to the final in four games.

In the final against two seeds Will Mariani & Greg Park, Smith & Badan controlled a close match to claim the title 15-6, 15-12, 15-13.

“After the first game drew out in the semis, we did a good job not panicking and getting back to and executing our game plan,” Badan said. “The final was a three love score, but it was much closer than the score suggests. There were long rallies, but we had out strategy in place. We found our way to control the match, but we knew we had to be patient.”

The SDA Silver title marks the largest in Smith’s career, and is Badan’s first since the 2016 PDC Cup.

“Unfortunately there are quite a few injuries on the tour at the minute, hence a few partner changes, but in the end I was extremely happy to be playing with Swiss.” Smith said. “Obviously we know each others games very well which enhanced our team chemistry and to win the tournament was great; tournament wins aren’t easy to come by, this was the biggest so far in my career!”

(l-r) Yvain Badan, Jonny Smith, Ed Chilton, Will Mariani, Greg Park

Smith & Badan had previously reached the Delaware final in 2011.

“Jonny and I used to play together a few years back,” Badan said. “He asked me to step in after the injuries so I was excited. We’ve known each other a long time, he was a senior at Trinity when I was a freshman so our friendship goes all the way back to 2002. He’s someone everyone enjoys and respects. It felt pretty comfortable, I was amazed how quickly we got used to each other and remembered how to play together. I’m grateful to win a tournament on this competitive tour, and especially to do it with Jonny given our history together.”

The Delaware Pro Doubles returns to the tour after a brief hiatus. The tournament was first held in 1995. Wilmington also hosts the annual U.S. Junior Doubles Championships.

“It was great to have a SDA event back again at the Wilmington Country Club, where historically the doubles community has always been very strong and knowledgeable,” Smith said.

“It’s a very nice group of people in Wilmington and was great to go back there,” Badan said. “Everyone really enjoys Ed Chilton, who runs the program there where the community appreciates the high level of squash doubles. The players were all glad to see the event back on the calendar.”

View Delaware Pro Doubles images on the SDA SmugMug Page.

Watch Delaware Pro Doubles match replays below.

Mudge & Berg Reunite to Win Third Wilmington Title

The 2015 Delaware Pro Final. L-R: Viktor Berg, Yvain Badan, Damien Mudge, Manek Mathur.
The 2015 Delaware Pro Final. L-R: Viktor Berg, Yvain Badan, Damien Mudge, Manek Mathur.

Delaware Pro Doubles Draw SDA Live

Shades of 2009 enveloped the Wilmington Country Club this weekend as Damien Mudge & Viktor Berg reunited their 2008 and 2009 championship-winning partnership to defeat top-seeded Manek Mathur & Yvain Badan in a marathon final.

Mudge & Berg, who once topped the SDA rankings as world No. 1’s, entered the eight-team main draw in their first tournament appearance together since the 2009-2010 season.

The two seeds endured a difficult road to the final, however, which began with a tough test against qualifiers and first-time partners Jeff Osborne & Andres Vargas, who managed to take a game off the eventual champions.

The second qualifying partnership, Canadians Fred Reid & Justin Todd, also caused problems in the first round, pushing England’s World Doubles champions John Russell & Clive Leach into five games 15-10, 15-10, 12-15, 13-15, 15-4.

Russell & Leach, the three seeds, perhaps felt the effects of that five-gamer during their semifinal against Mudge & Berg, who advanced 15-8, 15-7, 10-15, 15-10.

For the first time playing in the same draw as Mudge, Trinity Bantams and world No. 3’s Manek Mathur & Yvain Badan were the tournament’s top seeds.

The top seeds reached the semifinals after a three-game victory over Raj Nanda & Imran Khan to set up an all-Trinity semifinal against Colombia’s Bernardo Samper & Mexico’s Antonio Diaz.

Samper & Diaz upset another Bantam, Mike Ferreira, in the first round who was seeded fourth with world No. 11 Chris Callis. The marathon five-game match was one to forget for Ferreira, world No. 7, who tinned at 14-14 in both the fourth and fifth games to set the two sides apart.

As in their first round match, Mathur & Badan cleared their fellow alums in three games to reach the final, and set up their first match against the Mudge & Berg partnership.

A two hour and twenty-minute epic ensued with the top seeds earning a 2-1 advantage after pulling out a close third game 15-7, 11-15, 15-14. Mudge & Berg stepped up to win the fourth 15-13 extending the match to a fifth, which Mudge & Berg pulled out 15-12 to win the title.

Berg was happy to reunite with his former partner, and admitted his improvement in the final helped clinch the title.

“The finals was a difficult test for me,” said Berg, whose most recent title was the $20,000 Missouri Athletic Club Open with John Russell in October.

“The strategy and the game tempo took me some time to get used to, but I did adapt to it and I improved as the match went on. Mudgie executed brilliantly. There were some really long and entertaining rallies, and I think the audience got their money’s worth!”

The 2015 title is the Canadian world No. 8’s third with Mudge in , adding to titles in 2008 and 2009.

Mudge has now won a title in Wilmington ten times since 2001 which have been held under various names including U.S. Pro Doubles, U.S. Open, and Delaware Open since its inception in 1995.

“It was so nice playing with Mudgie,” Berg continued. “He brings the passion and drive that I like being involved with. I love his game.

“I would like to thank Ed Chilton again and all the sponsors for making it a fantastic tournament. Thank you!”

Watch the final and all replays below on the SDA YouTube page.

Mudge & Berg Rekindle Partnership as SDA Delaware Two Seeds

Mudge and Berg 1
The 2008 U.S. Pro Doubles final at Wilmington Country Club. L-R: Viktor Berg, Clive Leach, Damien Mudge, Chris Walker.

Delaware Pro Doubles Draw SDA Live

For the first tournament since the 2009-2010 season, Damien Mudge & Viktor Berg will rekindle their former world No. 1 partnership this weekend as the two seeds in the SDA 2015 Delaware Pro Doubles at Wilmington Country Club.

The Mudge & Berg partnership is no stranger to the WCC doubles courts having won two SDA—then ISDA—titles in 2008 and 2009. As is the case with most longstanding SDA events, Mudge appears on the past champions list spanning the three dominant partnerships of his career: five titles with Gary Waite—including four consecutive from 2001-2005, two with Berg in 2008 and 2009, and two with Ben Gould in the most recent iterations of the tournament in 2011 and 2012.

The Delaware Pro Doubles has been contested under various names in the past including the Delaware Open, US Pro Doubles, and US Open Doubles, and now reverts to the namesake of the nation’s first state with a $25,000 prize purse.

For the first time in a draw including Mudge, Trinity Bantams and world No. 3’s Manek Mathur & Yvain Badan enter the eight-team main draw as top seeds. Mathur & Badan are seeded to meet world No. 7 Mike Ferreira, and new world No. 11 Chris Callis in the semifinals.

England’s world doubles champions Clive Leach & John Russell are seeded to meet Mudge & Berg in the other semifinal.

Qualifying begins Thursday afternoon at 5:30 ET. Watch live scoring and streaming on SDA Live powered by www.clublocker.com.