The second annual Westchester Country Club Pro Doubles platinum draw saw a seismic shift in the days leading up to the tournament.
Following Manek Mathur’s Achilles injury at the Big Apple Open the previous Monday night, world No. 6 Chris Callis was forced to call up world No. 7 Mike Fereirra to occupy the top seed in Westchester. The following Tuesday, world No. 8 Bernardo Samper unfortunately had to return to his native Colombia for a family emergency, leaving world No. 5 Yvain Badan in search of a new partner to fill in the gap of his Big Apple Open-winning team. As a result, Badan linked up with world No. 9 James Stout in their first ever partnership together, slotting in as the two seeds.
The match of the tournament perhaps came in the quarterfinals between qualifiers Ed Garno & Alex Stait & four seeds Clive Leach & James Bamber. Leach & Bamber squandered a two-game lead as the match progressed to a decisive simultaneous match ball, which the higher seeds executed to advance 15-10, 15-14, 12-15, 12-15, 15-14.
One five-gamer wasn’t enough for Leach & Bamber, as the Englishmen once again went the distance in the semifinals against Callis & Ferreira. After alternating games through to the fifth, the top seeds ended Leach & Bamber’s run 15-9 to reach the final.
Badan & Stout progressed through the bottom half of the draw with a four-game win over Adam Bews & Will Hartigan in the quarters and a three-game semifinal victory against Jonny Smith & Zac Alexander.
Badan & Stout carried their form into the final, dispatching Callis & Ferreira 15-13, 15-10, 15-13, to claim their first title together and Badan’s second in a week’s span.
“It’s been a tough week for the tour between Manek rupturing his Achilles and this happening to Bernardo,” Badan said. “I was lucky that James was able to step in. You never know how you’re going to gel with someone until you jump on court together, and fortunately it worked out great. We discussed a strategy and implemented it well together. We had good communication and covered for each other, and his style and my style really worked out well together.”
Stout, a Bermudian, is competing in the Racquets World Championships this coming weekend at the Racquet & Tennis Club.
“It can be tough playing with a new partner as you both are trying to figure out each other’s game and determining who should play which shots,” Stout said. “There were a couple of points in our first match where we both left shots for the other, but besides that it was pretty easy getting into a rhythm. We have played against each other on numerous occasions so knew each other’s style of play and were able to adapt pretty quickly. It was a fun weekend partnering with him.”
Westchester marks Badan’s first platinum title since the 2016 Maryland Club Open, while Stout celebrates the largest title of his career to date.
“The Westchester community is really special, I feel very connected to them because I used to be at Apawamis right down the road, so it almost feels like playing at home,” Badan said. “It’s a membership who knows their squash doubles and great to see them so excited and appreciative of the squash.”
“Westchester Country Club and all of the members were fantastic hosts,” Stout said. “It honestly felt like this tournament had been around for years with how smoothly everything ran. It is great to see a new tournament on the calendar and even better with it being a platinum event. Hopefully with Natalie Grainger, the squash committee and incredible membership this event will continue to grow each year.”