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Park Bows Out of the SDA Tour in Style With Fifth Graham Company Cup

John Russell (l) and Greg Park with their families

Former Germantown Cricket Club regular Greg Park extended his Graham Company Cup title record with his fifth on St. Patrick’s Day, after rekindling a partnership with John Russell for their second event this season.

Having spent two seasons together nearly seven years ago, Russell & Park reunited ahead of the David C. Johnson Jr. Memorial last month. In Brooklyn, Russell & Park put together a successful semifinal run as the three seeds.

In Philadelphia, Russell & Park once again entered the draw as the three seeds, but this time went one better.  Like Brooklyn, Russell & Park opened up their tournament with a difficult five-setter, holding off a comeback from Adam Bews & Hamed Anvari 15-13, 15-7, 7-15, 3-15, 15-10. Russell & Park then edged two seeds Robin Clark & Scott Alexander in a close semifinal 15-13, 15-13, 13-15, 15-12.

The top half of the draw saw Canadian four seeds Will Mariani & Thomas Brinkman upset top seeds Bernardo Samper & Chris Callis–the new world No. 1 this month–15-9 in the fifth to reach the final.

In the final, the SDA veterans pulled through to clinch the title 15-10, 15-9, 8-15, 15-12.

While Russell adds his name to the Graham Company Cup winners list for the first time, Park marks his fifth, following up his 2014 title with Jonny Smith, 2012 and 2010 titles with Imran Khan and 2007 title with Shane Coleman. Coleman is second on the winners list having won three titles from 2004-2007.

“Playing with JR is always a lot of fun,” Park said. “A tremendous player on the court and a great guy off. Our families are very close throughout the year not just with squash. That helps to make a solid team. Plus JR, as everyone knows, is one of the best players of all time.”

Russell’s second title of the season came just days before his fortieth birthday on Wednesday, March 20.

“It feels good to be answering questions about a tournament win on my fortieth birthday,” Russell said. “Greg played really well this weekend, continuing to improve after playing great three weeks ago at the Heights event. His style compliments my game greatly. Feels good to have finally won this event as I’m pretty sure I had reached four finals there. It was also great to have my son and wife there watching.”

The Graham Company Cup may be the end of his established SDA Pro Tour career, Park admits. At thirty-six years old, Park–the 2012  and 2013 U.S. National Doubles champion and 2011 ISDA Rookie of the Year–played eight events this season.

“This was a special one for both of us,” Park said. “JR was able to get the win and have his wife and son there to watch. My fifth time winning is a great feeling. Germantown is where I started playing so I am glad to have won the most titles there, and this time I had my wife and three kids to cheer me on. My “lucky charms” that day. It was also special because it was most likely my last event and a great way to go out–a win with a great friend of mine and we had our families there to share it with.”


Callis & Samper Surge to Graham Company Cup Title

The 2018 Graham Company Cup final (l-r): Chris Callis, Scott Arnold, John Russell, Bernardo Samper

Continuing their momentum from an impressive run to the David C. Johnson Memorial final last month, Chris Callis & Bernardo Samper went one better at the 2018 Graham Company Cup, claiming their first title of the season this weekend at the Germantown Cricket Club.

The twelve-team draw played out according to seeding with the top four seeds advancing to the semifinals.

The weekend saw the return of John Russell following an injury spell that kept the Englishman off tour since December’s Briggs Cup.

Russell & Scott Arnold slotted into the draw as the top seeds, progressing to the final courtesy of a four-game victory against four seeds Clive Leach & Jonny Smith in the semis.

Callis & Samper moved through the bottom half of the draw with two clinical 3-0 wins against Bobby Burns & Hamed Anvari in the quarters and three seeds Matt Jenson & Greg Park in the semifinals.

In the final, Callis & Samper controlled the match to claim their first title of the season against Russell & Arnold 15-9, 13-15, 15-9, 15-10.

“I think our success in the Johnson was a gradual progression we were working towards all year,” Callis said. “We had played well in a few spots early in the season, but it took us a while to figure out the pace we needed to play at and to build confidence moving the ball to all four corners at that pace. We had a lot of confidence coming off of the Johnson, so we put extra effort into imposing our own game this weekend.”

The final was the first match up of the season between Russell & Arnold and Callis & Samper.

“JR and Scott are two of the best players out there, so we knew we would have to play really well to get by them,” Callis said. “We were disciplined with our game plan and Bernardo played really well up and down the left wall. It’s great it have JR back from injury and I look forward to playing those guys once JR is back to the top of his game.”

(l-r): Scott Arnold, John Russell, Bernardo Samper, Chris Callis

Callis & Samper have enjoyed their SDA tournaments in Philadelphia, with the Graham Company Cup following up their most recent title–the 2017 Tompkins Cup at Racquet Club of Philadelphia last April.

“Chris and I came this week with more confidence after having a great week in Brooklyn,” Samper said. “As the season went on we manage to improve little things in our games that lead us to winning our first tournament this season. As a team we did great at backing each other all season. If I had a flat day on the court, I knew I could count on Chris to perform, and vise versa. Scott and JR are great players and it’s really nice to see JR back. They’ve had a great season so far and I am looking forward playing more matches against them.”

View images in the SDA SmugMug Gallery. Watch full match replays below.

Largest Graham Company Cup Attracts First-Time Champions Mathur & Mudge


For the first time in the Graham Company Cup’s eighteen years, the tournament elevated its prize money to the $25,000 SDA Silver level, opening the event up to the tour’s top teams including world No. 1 and world No. 2 Manek Mathur & Damien Mudge, who recorded a seventh consecutive title this weekend at the Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia.

For the second consecutive tournament, the top seeds did not drop a game on the way to claiming a seventh title out of eight tournaments this season.

The twelve-team main draw played out according to seeding with the top four teams progressing to the semifinals. While Mathur & Mudge needed just three games against four seeds Raj Nanda & Clive Leach to reach the final, two seeds John Russell & Yvain Badan came back from 2-1 down to beat three seeds Johnny Smith & Chris Callis in five games.

In the final, Mathur & Mudge fired their way to their inaugural Graham Company Cup title 15-8, 15-10, 15-13.

The Graham Company Cup was the first SDA event in a month since Mathur & Mudge claimed the Johnson Memorial title in February—also without dropping a game.

“Tough to say we picked up where we left off after the Johnson, but we were definitely working on using our positive momentum as we head into this event,” Mathur said. “Damien came in this weekend so strong and it showed throughout the weekend. He makes the court so small, for me on the left too! It’s incredible to be out there with him and watch him do his thing.”

Both Mathur & Mudge made their Germantown debut thanks to the increased prize money in 2017.

“I have never played at Germantown and was excited to be there,” Mathur said. “It’s home to a lot of good squash players and was extremely glad that they raised the prize money to make it a major event. It’s a very unique club with a lot of history and for sites like that to take the next step is a great place for our tour to be in.”

View images on the tournament Smugmug page.

Watch Graham Company Cup replays below.

Ferreira Wins Second Title in Two Weeks; Callis Marks Maiden Title at Home Club Germantown

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 7.06.16 PM
l-r: James Stout, Jacques Swanepoel, tournament chair Doug Veasey, Chris Callis, Mike Ferreira.

Graham Company Cup Draw

Mike Ferreira won his second SDA title in just as many weeks at the Graham Company Cup, but with a different partner this weekend—Chris Callis—who celebrated his maiden SDA title on the court where he first played doubles at Germantown Cricket Club.

Ferreira & Callis have enjoyed a successful season together, reaching the Maryland and Baltimore semifinals, Johnson final and now claiming their maiden title together in Philadelphia.

The Graham Company Cup enjoyed elevated prize money offering $20,000 to a draw with plenty of Philadelphia flavor.

Two qualifying draws saw Philly sides Ed Garno & Alex Stait and Matt Domenick & Gilly Lane move to the main draw, as well as Trinity grads Johan Detter & Parth Sharma—another Philly local—who moved to the main draw as lucky losers due to an injury to top seed John Russell.

After defeating Detter & Sharma in a five-game qualifying final, Garno & Stait drew them again in the first round, this time advancing in three games.

Finalists James Stout & Jacques Swanepoel survived a difficult first round, coming back from 2-0 down in games to defeat Graham Bassett & Fred Reid. Stout & Swanepoel then advanced to the final in three games over Garno & Stait.

In the bottom half of the draw, two seeds Ferreira & Callis advanced to the final with two, three-game victories over Randy Lim & Antionio Diaz in the quarterfinals and Andres Vargas & John Roberts in the semifinals.

The final pitted last weekend’s Hashim Khan champions, Ferreira & Swanepoel, against one another. A marathon five-gamer ensued with Ferreira & Callis coming back from 2-1 down to win 13-15, 15-12, 10-15, 15-11, 15-11.

“It was a really tough final,” Ferreira said. “The court was hot so the ball was moving around and they are a strong team and played well.”

“Chris and I had a couple of close 15-14 in the fifth losses in Wilmington and the Briggs earlier this season, which was tough, so it feels great to finish our season on a strong note.”

Watch the Graham Company Cup final replay here.

The 2015-2016 SDA season has just three stops left with the inaugural $20,000 Ridley Windows and Doors Cricket Club Open in Toronto up next, April 8-10.

Anvari & Berg Bag Second SDA Title of the Season in Germantown

L-R: Viktor Berg, John White, Hamed Anvari, Shane Coleman.
L-R: Viktor Berg, John White, Hamed Anvari, Shane Coleman.

Playing in their third tournament together, Hamed Anvari & Viktor Berg have won their partnership’s second title this weekend—the $15,000 Graham Company Challenger at Germantown Cricket Club in Pennsylvania.

Adding to their $25,000 St. Louis Open title in January, the veterans topped an eight-team main draw strewn with local flavor.

Philadelphia-locals and U.S. National Team coaches Adam Hamill & Gilly Lane joined forces in qualifying to first defeat Asad Khan & Jordan Greenberg in four games Thursday night, before upsetting the young pairing of Matt Domenick & Navy’s intercollegiate doubles champion Andrew McGuinness in three games.

The second qualifying final also produced a local side in the form of Drexel Head coach and former world No. 1 John White, and Cynwyd Club’s Shane Coleman, who fought off a match ball in the fourth game against the other Domenick twin, Alex, and Racquet Club of Philadelphia professional James Asher, to win the qualifier in five games.

In Friday’s main draw, Hamill & Lane became the first fodder for Anvari & Berg in the eventual champions’ opening match, while Coleman & White went on to produce the upset of the tournament, taking out second-seeded Imran Khan, world No. 14, & four-time Graham Company champion Greg Park, world No. 11. Coleman & White recovered from losing the first game, to win the match in four 6-15, 15-12, 15-8, 15-8.

Coleman & White’s upset made for a Philadelphian semifinal against Ed Garno & Alex Stait, who knocked out third-seeded world No. 36 Johan Detter & Ned Marks in a four-game opener.

Another five-gamer beckoned for Coleman & White, who recovered from losing the first two games 14-15, 12-15 against Garno & Stait, to book a place in the final winning the final three games 15-14, 15-9, 15-8.

In the final, Hanvari & Berg employed a well-calculated strategy against the tall frames of Coleman & White, getting the better of the locals 15-13, 13-15, 15-12, 15-9.

“The final was our toughest test as John and Shane are two towering players that can really provide a lot of pace and make you uncomfortable,” Anvari said. “I always come away feeling like I learned something being on court with a former world No. 1. Given their height, power, and speed, our main goal was to get them out of position before we went for it.”

As the 2014-2015 season winds down, Anvari & Berg have now claimed two titles in three tournaments together, including reaching the Chilton North American Open semifinals.

“The Graham Company Challenger is one of my favorite events,” Anvari added, “The Germantown Cricket Club membership is so keen to have us, and I know the players all really appreciate it. Doug and Germantown put on a great event really roll out the red carpet for us.”

“I really enjoy playing with Viktor, and I think the reason we play so well together is the confidence in knowing that in a big point, late in a close game, we will step up and go for our shots.”

“Hamed’s a great player and it’s always nice playing alongside of him,” Berg said of his partner. “Germantown did a fantastic job in hosting this year’s event. The committee and Head Squash Pro Doug held a first class event.  Lots of good talks, food, beverages, and squash. What else do you want!? I would like to thank the SDA Tour and Harrow Sports for all of their support for doubles squash!”