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Mathur & Badan Add Names to Historic Chilton Investments NAO Winners List

(l-r) Yvain Badan, Scott Arnold, Manek Mathur, Robin Clarke.
(l-r) Yvain Badan, Scott Arnold, Manek Mathur, Robin Clarke.

North American Open Draw

Two new names grace the Chilton Investments North American Open winners list harking back to 1931 in the halls of Greenwich Country Club as Manek Mathur & Yvain Badan captured the title for the first time against the player with the most NAO titles to his name, Damien Mudge, & Viktor Berg Monday night in Connecticut.

The Trinity grads, who spent most of their club professional careers in the Greenwich and Rye areas, enjoyed an easy start to the tournament at the expense of Graham Basset who was forced to withdraw with Andres Vargas during the second game of their first round match after sustaining a back injury.

The world No. 3’s then enjoyed a three-game victory over Canada’s Robin Clarke & Scott Arnold, who needed five games to get past Baset Chaudhry & Randy Lim in the first round.

Mathur & Badan endured a difficult semifinal against Imran Khan & Greg Park, who pushed the champions to 15-3, 15-10, 14-15, 15-12.

“Imran was shooting the lights out and he got better as the match progressed and he got comfortable,” Mathur said. “The ball change and the hot court really helped change the momentum for them compared to the first two games where we controlled the pace and attacked well at the right times.”

“It’s probably the best I’ve seen Imran and Greg play together,” Badan added. “They really made it tough for us.”

Meanwhile in the top half of the draw, top seeds Mudge & Berg progressed to the final with four-game victories in both the quarterfinals over Trinity’s Antonio Diaz & Bernardo Samper, then reaching the final on simultaneous game ball in the fourth over Matt Jenson & Hamed Anvari.

The top two seeds met in a final for the third time this season with both partnerships winning one previous encounter–Mudge & Berg in Wilmington and Mathur & Badan in Boston.

A close final saw the first two games split 15-12, 5-15 before Mathur & Badan sped away with the third 15-4. At 14-14 in the fourth, Mathur smashed a nick to seal the partnership’s first NAO title.

“The final resembled Wilmington, which was close,” Badan said of their third final against Mudge & Berg this season. “The difference there being that they won the key points, but last night we capitalized during through at those crucial moments instead. There were a lot of momentum shifts. There was a lot of fight from both sides. It’s always tough when you’re up against some of the game’s greatest competitors of all time. It’s a great feeling of achievement to come through during those crucial points against a team of their quality.”

“The NAO has so much history and magic around the event,” Badan said. “To have our names on the winners board is an unbelievable feeling. This has been our area for almost the past ten years. We have so many friends and family here who supported us. It really felt like playing at home.”

The NAO marks both the first time Mathur & Badan have won consecutive SDA titles, but also defeated a team with Damien Mudge in it twice in a row.

Since 1999, the NAO has been hosted concurrently with the Harrow Greenwich Singles Invitational featuring top PSA men’s and women’s players.

Tournament proceeds and donations support the North American Open/Greenwich Open Scholarship Fund in partnership with US Squash, which provides financial assistance to participants in urban squash programs, as they elect to attend private secondary schools or college. To donate, visit the NAO/GO Fund page.

“Greenwich and Rye is home for us,” Mathur added. “We have spent so much time in the area post-Trinity that we have made a lot of close friends and extended family. It was definitely heart-warming to see so many familiar faces in the crowd last night and the general excitement the place had after we won. We can’t thank the Greenwich/Rye community for all their support over the years.

“I also want to thank all the sponsors (Lexington Partners, Chilton) and patrons for all their support to making this event happen year after year. The pro-am was bigger than ever and everyone made it out to their matches amidst Jonas which speaks highly about their love for our game. I want to thank Mark Hayden for carrying me to our pro-am win as well as everything Harrow and himself have done not only for me but for the other pro’s and game in general.”

The tour resumes this weekend in Pennsylvania with the $15,000 Pittsburgh Golf Club Challenger.

Two-Time Champs Mudge & Berg Lead Chilton Invest North American Open Draw

l-r: Greg Park (l) scrambles to save a ball with partner Imran Khan (r) against Manek Mathur (r) & Yvain Badan (l).
l-r: Greg Park (l) scrambles to save a ball with partner Imran Khan (r) against Manek Mathur (r) & Yvain Badan (l).

North American Open Draw SDA Live

The Chilton Investments North American Open has had two recent traditions: being held during an east coast snow storm and Damien Mudge winning the title. At least one of these traditions will continue this weekend with a snow storm set to sweep through the east coast, while Mudge is seeded to augment his record of winning twelve NAO titles at Greenwich Country Club, Round Hill Club, and Field Club of Greenwich in Connecticut.

Fresh off of winning the St. Louis Open title last weekend, Mudge leads the draw with Viktor Berg, with whom he’s won two titles this season, and NAO titles in 2008 and 2010. Mudge had won four of the last five NAO titles with Ben Gould.

The final is seeded to be the third consecutive and fourth final of the season between Mudge & Berg and world No. 3’s Manek Mathur & Yvain Badan. Mudge & Berg won in Wilmington and St. Louis, but Mathur & Badan decisively won the Putnam Pro-Am in three games earlier this month.

Mudge & Berg are predicted to meet four seeds Mike Ferreira & Chris Callis in the semifinals, while Mathur & Badan are seeded to play three seeds Raj Nanda & Clive Leach in their semifinal.

The NAO boasts a full main draw of sixteen teams with four qualifying finals completing the main draw. Qualifying finals begin Friday morning at 11:30pm local time.

Since 1999, the NAO has been hosted concurrently with the Harrow Greenwich Singles Invitational featuring top PSA women’s players.

Tournament proceeds and donations support the North American Open/Greenwich Open Scholarship Fund in partnership with US Squash, which provides financial assistance to participants in urban squash programs, as they elect to attend private secondary schools or college. To donate, visit the NAO/GO Fund page.

All matches are live scoring on SDA Live.

 

Mudge Makes it Twelve North American Open Titles

Round Hill Club professional Steve Scharff & partner Bernardo Samper take on Damien Mudge & Ben Gould on Scharff's home court. L-R: Scharff, Gould, Samper, Mudge.
Round Hill Club professional Steve Scharff & partner Bernardo Samper take on Damien Mudge & Ben Gould on Scharff’s home court. L-R: Scharff, Gould, Samper, Mudge.

As the ominous “Juno” storm swept through Greenwich, Connecticut, Monday afternoon, so too did Squash Doubles Association (SDA) world No. 1’s Damien Mudge & Ben Gould through the $40,000 Chilton North American Open main draw at Greenwich Country Club, the Field Club of Greenwich, and Round Hill Club. As they did two weeks ago in the $40,000 Putnam Pro-Am, Mudge & Gould claimed the title without dropping a game, adding Mudge’s twelfth NAO title to his record-breaking eleventh in 2014.

In 2014, Mudge broke former teammate Gary Waite’s record of ten North American Open titles with his eleventh. Together, Waite & Mudge won six consecutive North American Opens from 2000-2006. Of Waite’s other four titles, three took place from 1997-1999 with Mark Talbott with his first in 1994 with Scott Dulmage.

Building on his six titles with Waite, the thirty-eight-year-old Australian picked up his seventh and eighth titles—shifting to the left wall from the right—with Viktor Berg in 2008 and 2010 before notching his ninth and tenth on the left wall with current partner Gould in 2011 and 2012.

2015 Chilton North American Open finalists and champions L-R: Manek Mathur, Yvain Badan, Ben Gould, Damien Mudge.
2015 Chilton North American Open finalists and champions L-R: Manek Mathur, Yvain Badan, Ben Gould, Damien Mudge.

Mudge & Gould’s first two matches in the main draw of sixteen teams both came against qualifiers. Mudge & Gould first eased past Johan Detter & Ned Marks in three games, before spoiling home hopes against Steve Scharff, head professional at the Round Hill Club, on his home court with partner Bernardo Samper in the quarterfinals.

The rising partnership of Mike Ferreira & Jonny Smith awaited Mudge & Gould in the semifinals. The Trinity graduates advanced to the semifinals following an injury to fellow Bantam Shaun Johnstone, which forced Johnstone and partner Will Mariani to concede the match in the third game. Mudge & Gould maintained their perfect record against Ferreira & Smith, however, holding off the world No. 7 and world No. 6 15-13, 15-9, 15-5, setting up their fifth final of the season against world No. 4 Manek Mathur & world No. 3 Yvain Badan.

Second-seeded Mathur & Badan headed the bottom half of the draw, which saw third-seeded Randy Lim & Clive Leach fall in their opening match. Graham Bassett & Chris Callis recovering from 2-0 down in games against Lim & Leach, to win the match in five. Playing in their second tournament together after winning their maiden title, the St. Louis Open last weekend, Hamed Anvari & Viktor Berg ended Bassett & Callis’ tournament to set up a St. Louis semifinal rematch against Mathur & Badan. Mathur & Badan avenged their three-game loss last weekend with a three-game victory of their own to reach the final.

As winter storm Juno rolled into the region, Mudge & Gould rolled though the final 15-7, 15-13, 15-12 in their closest match of the tournament, and fourth win out of five finals against Mathur & Badan this season.

After losing in two consecutive tournaments this fall, Mudge & Gould haven’t dropped a game in their last three tournaments: the Jim Bentley, the Putnam Pro-Am, and now the North American Open.

“Ben and I haven’t dropped a game in our last three tournaments, so we’ve definitely rediscovered our intensity and that’s certainly reflective of our results. We’ve been playing some great squash so it’s good to get back to where we were before,” Mudge said.

“The NAO has so much history, playing it is always a special event, just like the Johnson coming up in a few weeks,” Mudge said of two of the mainstay tournaments on the SDA tour. “I take quite a bit of pride in playing in and trying to do my best in those tournaments. So it’s nice to be involved in, and also be successful in tournaments of that stature.”

The seventy-fifth NAO doubles was hosted alongside the Harrow Greenwich Open singles—held for the first time in an invitational format with professional men’s and women’s draws.

“They have a great format for this tournament in Greenwich between the three clubs, and strike a great chemistry between the professional men’s doubles and women’s singles as well as men’s this year,” Mudge continued.

In the women’s final, Egyptian world No. 9 Omneya Abdel Kawy upset 2015 Tournament of Champions champion Raneem El Welily in a thrilling five-game final. On the Men’s side, twenty-three-year-old Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad defeating English world No. 14 Daryl Selby in four games.

Tournament proceeds and donations support the North American Open/Greenwich Open Scholarship Fund in partnership with US Squash, which provides financial assistance to participants in urban squash programs, as they elect to attend private secondary schools or college. To donate, visit the NAO/GO Fund page.

Mudge & Gould Look to Nab Mudge’s Twelfth NAO Title

Ben Gould & Damien Mudge (L) celebrate after a win over Clive Leach & Chris Walker (R) in 2014 North American Open
Ben Gould & Damien Mudge (L) celebrate after a win over Clive Leach & Chris Walker (R) in 2014 North American Open

For the ninth year, the tri-club hosted—Greenwich Country Cub, Round Hill Club, and Field Club of Greenwich—Chilton North American Open Doubles (NAO), a Squash Doubles Association (SDA) Platinum event, will be held concurrently with the Harrow Greenwich Invitational singles in Connecticut January 23-26.

The NAO has been one of the most prominent and prestigious SDA events—with the second largest tour prize money at 40K. Since 1931, the event has drawn some of the best players in the world, including squash legends like Mark Talbott, Viktor Berg and Gary Waite, all former NAO champions. In its seventy-fourth iteration, not much has changed in 2015.

Damien Mudge & Ben Gould, joint world No. 1’s and 2014 NAO champions, are once again the top seeds in the tournament, facing a qualification team in the first round. Last year Mudge & Gould made history, winning Mudge’s eleventh title, breaking former teammate Waite’s tournament record of ten. Mudge & Waite won six straight NAO doubles titles from 2000-2006.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 2.32.14 PMThe NAO features a sixteen-team main draw with four qualification spots.

Viktor Berg & Hamed Anvari, first time partners in the recent St. Louis Open, who upset two top seeds— including world No. 4 Manek Mathur & world No. 3 Yvain Badan—are also headed to the NAO for the first time. The pair will meet a to-be-determined team from the qualification round.

For more information, visit the official North American Open Doubles tournament page.

The first round of matches will commence today at 6:30pm local time at the Field Club of Greenwich, and will be scored live on sdaprotour.com/live.

Tournament proceeds and donations support the North American Open/Greenwich Open Scholarship Fund in partnership with US Squash, which provides financial assistance to participants in urban squash programs, as they elect to attend private secondary schools or college. To donate and find out more, visit the NAO/GO Fund page.

In addition to the SDA tournament, a men’s and women’s singles event, the Harrow Greenwich Invitational, will also be hosted in in Connecticut. For the first time—the tournament is usually a women’s only event—it will feature a draw for men.

Some of the best players in the world, including the world No. 2 Raneem Weleily, as well as former world No. 1 Natalie Grainger, will compete in the women’s draw. The men’s side also features many top players, including world No. 14 Daryl Selby, with local pros Phil Barker, Zac Alexander, and Liam Kenny, all drawn from the Greenwich host-clubs.

Mudge Breaks Waite’s North American Open Title Record

With his three-game Chilton North American Open final win Monday evening alongside partner Ben Gould over Jonny Smith & Greg Park, Damien Mudge has broken Gary Waite’s record of ten North American Open titles with his eleventh in the seventy-fourth iteration of one of the most storied events on the Squash Doubles Association (SDA) tour.

Together, Waite & Mudge won six consecutive North American Opens from 2000-2006. Of Waite’s other four titles, three took place from 1997-1999 with Mark Talbott with his first in 1994 with Scott Dulmage.

Building on his six titles with Waite, the thirty-seven-year-old Australian picked up his seventh and eighth titles—shifting to the left wall from the right—with Viktor Berg in 2008 and 2010 before notching his ninth and tenth on the left wall with current partner Gould in 2011 and 2012.

“Gary was a great doubles player and friend who taught me a lot on and off court, and someone whom I looked up to,” Mudge said. “I’m grateful to have the opportunity to beat his record, which I didn’t think would happen. It was a special moment.” Continue reading