Rome, Italy, 20 May 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens are the Italian Open 2023 women’s doubles champions.

The 28-year-old Australian and her Belgian partner secured the WTA 1000 title with a 6-4 6-4 victory against top-seeded Americans Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula in today’s final.

Hunter and Mertens recovered from a 1-4 deficit in the second set of their rain-delayed final, reeling off five consecutive games to triumph in 80 minutes.

“We just tried to compete really hard and even if the score is 0-40 or 40-0, just stay in the game,” Hunter said.

“In the second set when we had a little bit of a lull and they lifted, we just did well to keep every game closer. We managed to stick it out and get the win.”

It caps an impressive tournament for Hunter and Mertens, who have claimed their first team title after conceding only a single set across their five matches in Rome.

The fourth-seeded combination also defeated three former world No.1s in their title-winning run.

Hunter and Mertens’ path to Italian Open title
1R defeated Kirsten Flipkens (BEL)/Alicja Rosolska (POL) 6-0 6-7(6) [10-4]
2R defeated [WC] Angelica Moratelli (ITA)/Camilla Rosatello (ITA) 6-1 7-6(6)
QF defeated Timea Babos (HUN)/Anna Danilina (KAZ) 6-4 6-2
SF defeated Marie Bouzkova (CZE)/Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 7-5 6-4
F defeated [1] Coco Gauff (USA)/Jessica Pegula (USA) 6-4 6-4

This is Hunter’s first tour-level clay-court title – and her sixth career WTA doubles title in total.

She has now won two WTA 1000 level titles, following her triumph at Guadalajara with Brazilian Luisa Stefani in October last year.

Hunter joins exclusive company as just the seventh Australian to win a prestigious Italian Open women’s doubles title in the Open era.

Italian Open women’s doubles
Australian champions – Open era
Player Years
Lesley Hunt 1972
Wendy Turnbull 1979
Elizabeth Smylie 1989
Janine Thompson 1989
Rennae Stubbs 2000
Ash Barty 2018, 2019
Storm Hunter 2023

World No.11 Hunter’s performance is set to be rewarded in next week’s rankings, with her ranking projected to rise to a career-high world No.5.

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

Hunter’s attention now turns to Roland Garros, where she will contest the singles qualifying competition next week.

Aussies in action – Rome

Women’s doubles, final
[4] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) d [1] Coco Gauff (USA)/Jessica Pegula (USA) 6-4 6-4

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