Storm Hunter advances to biggest clay-court final of her career in Rome
Australian Storm Hunter and Belgian partner Elise Mertens are through to the Italian Open women's doubles final.
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.
First final as a team 🙌
— wta (@WTA) May 18, 2023
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
|Evonne Goolagong Cawley||1979|
|Janine Thompson||1988, 1989|
|Ash Barty||2018, 2019|
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.
Aussies in action – Rome
Women’s doubles, semifinals
 Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) d Marie Bouzkova (CZE)/Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 7-5 6-4
Women’s doubles, final
 Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v  Coco Gauff (USA)/Jessica Pegula (USA)
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