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Mathur & Callis Dethrone Stout & McArthur in Second Sleepy Hollow Open

(l-r): Manek Mathur, Chris Callis, Chris Adams, Rob Gutheil, Greg McArthur, James Stout

Manek Mathur & Chris Callis became the first partnership to win multiple titles this season by taking out Sleepy Hollow Country Club Open defending champions James Stout & Greg McArthur Sunday, November 24, in Briarcliff Manor, New York.

After a successful debut on the SDA Pro Tour as a Bronze event in 2018, the Sleepy Hollow Open elevated to a $25,000 SDA Silver draw this season, expanding the draw and attracting more top partnerships in what has been a competitive opening to the season.

Mathur & Callis returned to the tour for the first time since being forced to withdraw after the Westchester semifinals earlier this month due to a Mathur ankle injury. The top seeds re-emerged in strong form with decisive three-game quarterfinal and semifinal victories over David Letourneau & Kelly Shannon and Adam Bews & James Bamber, respectively.

Stout & McArthur entered the bottom half of the draw as the two seeds and progressed to the semis courtesy of a three-game win over Graham Bassett & Clinton Leeuw. After progressing through qualifying, current and former PSA professionals Ryan Cuskelly & Jaymie Haycocks celebrated their first quarterfinal appearance together in just their partnership’s second event. Veterans Bernardo Samper & Yvain Badan ended their surprise run in four games to reach the semis. Stout & McArthur then fought back from 1-0 down in the semis to reach their second Sleepy Hollow final 10-15, 15-8, 15-12, 15-7.

In the final, Mathur & Callis prevailed in three tight games, 15-12, 15-13, 15-11 to claim their first Sleepy Hollow title. The title marks their second of the season, following the season-opening Maryland Club Open in October.

“It was unfortunate in WCC, we were looking forward to playing in that final, but wasn’t meant to be,” Mathur said. “This sleepy final was exhausting! Even though it was just three games, the intensity and quality was extremely high and I think all four players were both mentally and physically exhausted post match. Playing James and Greg is always exciting as they’re so talented and creative with the ball that they keep you on your toes and force you to be extremely focused defensively and keep the ball away from their hot zones.”

The Sleepy Hollow result saw both Mathur & Callis returning to fitness after some setbacks.

“Both with Maryland and this Sleepy event, we went in with no expectations and just letting our bodies do their thing and we managed to find some good form this weekend right from the get go,” Mathur said. “I think both Chris and I had a ton of fun out there and were just happy to be playing feeling good and healthy.  I think Chris is starting to feel a lot better too after his knee scope from earlier this year.”

Last year, McArthur–the Sleepy Hollow head professional–and Stout started their ascent as one of the tour’s top partnerships with the 2018 title.

“This was our first time playing at Sleepy Hollow and not only is it a stunning location but the membership is second to none,” Mathur said. “Big thanks to my pro-am partner Chris Adams and the rest of the membership for being so supportive, friendly and inviting to us and the entire tour. Another big shout out to our very own Greg McArthur–we all know it’s not easy to run an event–but the amount of detail that he put into it made it a very special weekend!”

Tour focus now shifts to the biennial $60,000 Briggs Cup, December 6-9,  the tour’s top teams aim for one of the tour’s most iconic titles. This season has been characterized by parity with a different partnership winning each event up until Sleepy Hollow.

“The tour is in a great place,” Mathur said. “We had the biggest qualifying draw ever at NYAC and with multiple winning teams so far this season, I don’t think I’ve seen that since my start on the ISDA back in 2010. The same transfers over to a depth perspective where first round matches are extremely competitive and can go in either direction. This season has seen a great influx of former college and singles players.”

 

 

 

McArthur Shines on Home Court to Win Sleepy Hollow Open With Stout

(l-r): Bernardo Samper, Yvain Badan, Chris Adams, Greg McArthur, James Stout, Rob Gutheil

The inaugural Sleepy Hollow Country Club Open presented by Sherry-Lehmann SDA Bronze draw saw home hero Greg McArthur & James Stout battle through a competitive draw to win their first title of the season together and third of 2018.

The first round saw two major five-gamers right off the bat. In the top half of the draw, Mike Ferreira & Whitten Morris squandered a 2-0 lead when four seeds Clive Leach & James Bamber forced a fifth game, but Ferreira & Morris got the best of Leach & Bamber in the fifth to advance 15-12, 15-13, 13-15, 7-15, 15-12.

Stout & McArthur, the two seeds, opened up their tournament with a difficult draw against world No. 18 Robin Clarke & world No. 14 Zac Alexander. The champions were on the brink of a first-round exit as Clarke & Alexander took the first two games 15-5, 15-14. Stout & McArthur regrouped, however, decisively winning the remaining three games 15-4, 15-7, 15-4.

The top two seeds reasserted their superior rankings in the semifinals as Yvain Badan & Bernardo Samper dispatched Ferreira & Morris in four games, and Stout & McArthur held off three seeds Raj Nanda & Greg Park–also in four games–to reach their second final of the season.

The Sleepy Hollow fans got their money’s worth in the club’s first ever SDA final, as Stout, world No. 6, & McArthur, world No. 10, upset the Badan, world No. 3, & Samper, world No. 8, 9-15, 15-6, 15-14, 14-15, 15-7.

“Of the four tournament victories James and I have together this one was the toughest to achieve,” McArthur said. “Any of our three matches en route to the title could have been finals in most SDA events. Robin and Zac definitely gave us a scare in the first round and we were very relieved to turn things around and win in five games. This was the second match against Swiss and Bernie this season. I’m really enjoying the friendly rivalry against those guys. They are such great players and every time we play them we have to step up our game.”

Stout & McArthur’s final victory against Samper & Badan avenged their five-game loss at the Big Apple Open where they fell 15-13 in the fifth.

“This was such a strong draw with five or six teams that could have won the event,” Stout said. “We knew we had to play well from the first match, having drawn Robin and Zac, and were really pleased to comeback in five games for the win. Swiss and Bernie are such a strong and steady team, we knew we would have to play really well to have a chance in the final. Having lost to them in a close match at the end of last month, we were excited to try to turn the result around. It was a really exciting match and great to be a part of the Inaugural Sleepy Hollow event.”

The Sleepy Hollow Open marked Stout & McArthur’s third tournament of the season, with the pairing reaching the Maryland Club Open final in addition to the Big Apple quarters.

“James and I have always had good chemistry on court,” McArthur said. “Our results really speak for themselves, but I think the biggest factor right now is increased confidence and belief. When you have someone of James’ quality on the left wall it is easy to believe you can win.”

After winning their first SDA event together at the 2013 Graham Company Cup, the duo had a strong end to the 2017-2018 season by winning the R&TC Challenger and Buffalo Pro Doubles. The title marks Stout’s second of the season following his Westchester Country Club triumph with Badan.

“It is always a pleasure being on court with Greg, not only because we are close friends but also because we respect each others game–there aren’t many guys that can run around for 90 minutes and still hit ridiculous winners at the end of it,” Stout said. “We have been playing a few more tournaments recently, which definitely helps with our confidence. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at Sleepy Hollow for running an incredible tournament, and especially to Greg.”

For McArthur, the Sleepy Hollow head pro, the occasion of winning in front of his membership was a special one.

“It was such a privilege to be able to compete and win in front of my members,” McArthur said. “I love working with these people day in day out and to have them there sharing my success is a memory I’ll cherish for quite some time. Before stepping on court for the final I was already delighted with how the tournament had went. This is our first time hosting a professional tournament and I hope it’s the first of many. I’d like to thank the squash committee, all the members, patrons and staff at Sleepy Hollow Country Club and especially our title sponsor Sherry-Lehmann. The event simply could not have happened without all their support.”

SDA Tour focus now shifts to Atlanta, Georgia, for the final event of the 2018 calendar year–the PDC Cup, December 5-8.