Rome, Italy, 18 May 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Storm Hunter and Belgian partner Elise Mertens have continued their impressive run at the Italian Open.

The fourth-seeded duo scored a 7-5 6-4 victory today against Marie Bouzkova and former world No.1 Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the women’s doubles semifinals.

Hunter and Mertens recovered from a 2-5 deficit in the opening set, reeling off five consecutive games to earn an early advantage.

They showed their fighting spirit again to recover from another early break in the second set, before clinching victory in one hour and 38 minutes.

It is Hunter and Mertens’ third consecutive straight-sets victory in Rome and propels them into their first final as a team.

Hunter becomes only the 13th Australian to advance to an Italian Open women’s doubles in the Open era – and just the second, after Ash Barty, to achieve the feat in the past two decades.

Italian Open women’s doubles
Australian finalists in the Open era 
Player Year
Lesley Bowrey 1971
Helen Gourlay 1971
Lesley Hunt 1972
Wendy Turnbull 1979
Evonne Goolagong Cawley 1979
Kerry Reid 1979
Jenny Byrne 1988
Janine Thompson 1988, 1989
Elizabeth Smylie 1989
Nicole Bradtke 1991
Rennae Stubbs 2000
Ash Barty 2018, 2019
Storm Hunter 2023

Hunter and Mertens now play top-seeded Americans Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula for the title.

They have played once before, with the American combination scoring a three-set victory in the Miami Open quarterfinals in March.

World No.11 Hunter is aiming to win her second career WTA 1000 title and the biggest clay-court title of her career.

Regardless of the result of the final, Hunter is projected to rise to a new career-high ranking of world No.5 next week.

> STORM HUNTER: “Just keep believing and never give up”

Aussies in action – Rome

Women’s doubles, semifinals
[4] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) d Marie Bouzkova (CZE)/Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 7-5 6-4

Women’s doubles, final
[4] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v [1] Coco Gauff (USA)/Jessica Pegula (USA)

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