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England Claim Men’s and Women’s World Doubles Gold; Canada Wins Mixed Gold

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The seventeenth biennial J.P. Morgan & Trunk Club World Squash Doubles Championships concluded in dramatic fashion Sunday night as England’s John Russell & Clive Leach pulled off the upset of the tournament over Australia’s Damien Mudge & Ben Gould, clinching England’s second gold medal of the tournament, adding to Suzie Pierrepont & Carrie Hastings’ women’s open title at Onwenstia Club in Chicago, Illinois.

The men’s and women’s finals were preceded by the mixed final, which saw Team USA’s Amanda Sobhy & Chris Callis, who upset England’s top seeds in the semifinals, pitted against Team Canada’s two seeds, Stephanie Hewitt & Viktor Berg.

Hewitt & Berg created a 2-0 advantage, and held match ball on a simultaneous game ball in the third, but Sobhy & Callis forced a fourth game 15-14. The Canadian veterans then pulled away once again to win the fourth 15-6, and claim gold medals for Canada.

“Stephanie played amazing and it was a treat to play with her, we both played great all weekend,” Berg said. “Amanda and Chris are exceptional athletes and a great team, so it was nice to have won a gold medal for Canada. We kept the pressure on in the finals and never let up.”

“It was a pretty exciting match given we were up 2-0, then lost the third 15-14,” Hewitt said. “Viktor covers a lot of the court and plays a lot of balls. It makes it tough for the opponent, especially for mixed, because you never really know where he’s going to be on the court. Seanna and I lost yesterday after being up 2-1, then losing in the fifth was tough. Viktor and I also lost to Preston and Natalie in the semis two years ago, so to come back this year and beat them, then win the title was awesome.”

Their mixed world title is Berg’s second, adding to his 2006 run with Jessie Chai. Hewitt marks her first mixed world title, which adds to her three consecutive women’s world titles from 2006-2011.

“It’s hard to compare the women’s titles with the mixed. The mixed matches are that much tougher, at least for the women. They’re really physically demanding, so every mixed match I played this weekend was really tough and exhausting. This title is right up there with the women’s. It was a great mother’s day gift winning gold!”

“I really like playing mixed doubles as it brings out the best in me,” Berg continued. “It’s kind of like a cross between singles and men’s doubles. I get to be more creative than usual.

“I would like to thank the sponsors, club, patrons, club pros, volunteers, players, US Squash, the SDA tour, and everyone else that made the event such a success. It was truly amazing to be a part of it all.”

The women’s final ensued following the men’s 3/4 playoff, in which Team USA’s Greg Park & Preston Quick claimed bronze.

England were guaranteed a gold medal and first-time winner going into the match between top-seeded Suzie Pierrepont & Carrie Hastings and second-seeded Georgina Stoker & Victoria Simmonds.

The top seeds showed no signs of fatigue following their grueling five-game semifinal Saturday, powering to a three-game victory 15-10, 15-13, 15-10.

“I felt very calm going into the final,” Hastings said. “The courts here are so nice to play on, and I wanted to leave it all on the court being that it’s my last tournament before moving back to England. Both Vic and Georgia were so strong in the semis that we knew we had to be ready for a battle.”

Pierrepont and Hastings have both been major figures on the WDSA tour in recent years, but hadn’t partnered before this weekend. For Philadelphia-based Hastings, the worlds mark her final doubles tournament before returning to England.

“The keys for me were playing with a very good friend that I have a huge amount of respect for on and off the court,” Hastings continued. “I was honored to be asked by Suzie to play, and my role was to try my best to stick to the game plan and stay steady.

“Thank you Narelle for putting together such an amazing tour, which has given me many great friendships and wonderful memories. Thanks to Tina Rix for being my partner from day one, and Suzie for giving me the opportunity to be a world champion. The WDSA girls love coming to Chicago, the events that Aidan Harrison, Dan Dolan and Peter Dunne put together are second to none. The support that we have received from the members at Onwentsia was unbelievable, can’t thank them enough.”

The men’s final concluded the tournament in appropriate fashion with an over two and a half hour showdown between two of the top SDA teams on tour, Australians Damien Mudge & Ben Gould, and Englishmen John Russell & Clive Leach. Prior to Sunday’s match, world No. 1’s Mudge & Gould has only lost two games this SDA season, one of which was the Big Apple Open semifinal against Russell & Leach.

The final didn’t disappoint with both teams going game for game, all within four points of each other, until a decisive fifth game. At 9-5 up with two hours and twenty minutes played, Leach alarmingly pulled up with a muscle cramp. After regaining his composure, the game continued with both sides displaying remarkable shot-making. A visibly-hampered Leach continued to close out points despite his discomfort, and with match ball at 14-11, shot a winning reverse to win the Englishmen’s first world title.

“Clive got a couple of winners there at the end, and was shooting so well. Every game was tight and long,” Russell said. “I think we played them five times this season now, and we had only won once. They gave us two pretty good hammerings in Boston and Baltimore, but we had a pretty close match in the Kellner two weeks ago.

“It feels great to win a world title. I was on the English team and won the world juniors, and that was all the way back in 1996. It’s been a while, but it’s for England and the same idea so it feels good.

The 2015 World Doubles were the first edition of the tournament since 2007 to include amateur and age division draws alongside the professional open draws.

“The tournament chairs did a great job, there were a lot of moving parts,” Russell continued. “It was great to see the age groups back and running. It’s been a while since I’ve been at a worlds where they’ve had the age divisions, but it was great to have more people at the event, and good to see people playing because they love the game. Obviously thanks to J.P. Morgan and Trunk Club for supporting the tournament.”

“The age groups were an added benefit in having more players at the event,” Hewitt said of the age divisions. “The worlds will be back in Toronto in two years, and I think having the age groups again will really be nice. The worlds used to have these categories and the opens, having those back is a huge bonus for doubles, and brings back a lot to the game.”

All age division results and live stream replays are available on www.worlddoubles.com.

Three English Sides Reach World Doubles Finals

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It’s finals day at the 2015 J.P Morgan & Trunk Club World Doubles Championships hosted by the Onwentsia Club in Chicago, Illinois.

Team England is guaranteed at least one gold medal Sunday with both English top seeds advancing to the women’s final at the expense of American defending champions Amanda Sobhy & Natalie Grainger.

Sobhy & Grainger fell against second-seeded Georgina Stoker & Victoria Simmonds 15-9, 15-10, 15-12. Top seeds Suzie Pierrepont & Carrie Hastings endured a five-game semifinal against Canadian four seeds Seanna Keating & Stephanie Hewitt, recovering from 2-1 down in games to claim the match 10-15, 15-11, 13-15, 15-12, 15-12.

Sobhy and Team USA still have hope for a gold medal in the mixed final, however, which will be the first of the three professional finals to be contested at 12pm noon, local time. Sobhy & Chris Callis pulled off a semifinal upset over England’s top seeds John Russell & Suzie Pierrepont 14-15, 15-12, 11-15, 15-14, 15-11 to reach the final.

Canada’s Viktor Berg & Stephanie Hewitt ensured an all-North American mixed final, defeating Team USA’s 2013 mixed finalists Grainger & Preston Quick in four games.

Australian favorites Damien Mudge & Ben Gould are on track to win their third consecutive world title in the last final Sunday afternoon at 5pm local time. The SDA world No. 1’s held off Canada’s Freddie Reid & Berg in four games to set up a final against England’s two seeds, Russell & Clive Leach.

Russell & Leach were one of just two teams to have defeated the Australians during the 2014-2015 SDA season, and will aim for another upset on the world stage.

All finals will be streaming live on www.worlddoubles.com.

Final Schedule (local time):
12pm: Mixed
4pm: Women’s

5pm: Men’s

 

 

World Doubles Live Stream

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The seventeenth biennial WSF J.P. Morgan & Trunk Club World Doubles are underway in Chicago, Illinois, at the Onwentsia Club, MetroSquash Academic & Squash Center, Racquet Club of Chicago, University Club of Chicago and the Winter Club of Lake Forest.

Professional match play begins Thursday morning at 11am local time. www.worlddoubles.com is the home of the World Doubles with all professional and age division draws, schedules, and live scores. Live streaming will be available on www.worlddoubles.com Saturday and Sunday.

Follow all World Doubles progress on the mobile and desktop-compatible www.clublocker.com, using the  Player Tracker and Live Scores features. The Player Tracker feature displays a team’s next opponent, time, and location. All matches will be scored live throughout the weekend in the featured matches section of www.clublocker.com, and on www.worlddoubles.com.

The MetroSquash Academic and Squash Center celebrated its grand opening in conjunction with the tournament Wednesday evening, May 6, marking the first urban squash facility to house a doubles court, and the first urban facility to host a world championship. All proceeds from the tournament will go towards MetroSquash’s mission of using squash, academics, mentoring, cultural enrichment and community service to empower Chicago Public School students to reach their full academic, athletic and personal potential. To become a patron, visit www.worlddoubles.com.

The professional draws will offer a combined $70,000, with two defending championship teams—United States’ current world No. 10 Amanda Sobhy & former world No. 1 Natalie Grainger, and Australia’s dominant doubles duo, Damien Mudge & Ben Gould—returning to defend their titles.

Mudge & Gould enter the men’s draw as top seeds following the conclusion of a dominant SDA campaign that saw the Aussies collect nine titles from ten finals, including the largest tournament of the year this weekend, the Kellner Cup. The world No. 1’s are in search of their third consecutive world title together, with only one other former world champion in the field, Preston Quick, who partnered with fellow American Greg Park.

England’s John Russell & Clive Leach weigh in as the men’s two seed. Russell & Leach were one of just two teams to have defeated Mudge & Gould during the 2014-2015 SDA season, and are seeded to meet fellow Englishmen Mike Ferreira & Jonny Smith in the semifinals. Ferreira & Smith, both Trinity graduates, were a new SDA partnership this season and quickly rose to the world’s top 10.

Team USA’s Sobhy & Grainger reunite in the women’s draw in hopes of claiming a second world title together. The defending champs will have a difficult road to the title, however, with a potential quarterfinal against third-seeded Americans Dana Betts & Sarah West, semifinal against second-seeded Englishwomen Georgina Stoker & Victoria Simmonds, and final against England’s top-seeded Suzie Pierrepont & Carrie Hastings.

There will be a new world mixed champion with Australia’s Narelle Krizek unable to defend her title with Paul Price due to injury. Team USA’s 2013 finalists, Grainger & Quick, will aim to go one better and claim their first mixed title together, but face fierce competition in the fifteen-team draw. England’s Russell Pierrepont are seeded to meet Canadian’s Viktor Berg & Stephanie Hewitt in the final.