London, Great Britain, 11 July 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Storm Hunter and Belgian partner Elise Mertens are firming as genuine title contenders in the Wimbledon ladies’ doubles competition.

The third seeds received a third-round walkover from Czech combination Miriam Kolodziejova and Marketa Vondrousova.

This propels Hunter and Mertens into a quarterfinal showdown with British wildcards Naiktha Bains and Maia Lumsden.

World No.173 Bains, a 25-year-old who formerly represented Australia, and world No.178 Lumsden, also 25, are enjoying a stunning career-best run. Prior to this tournament, they had only recorded a single win each at Grand Slam-level.

Just two seeded teams remain in the ladies’ doubles draw and remarkably, world No.7 Hunter and world No.8 Mertens are the only players ranked inside the world’s top 25 still alive in the tournament.

Hunter and Mertens teamed up for the first time at the Australian Open in January, where they advanced to the quarterfinals.

They also made final-eight appearances at Indian Wells and Miami, before enjoying a title-winning run at the WTA 1000 event in Rome.

With 17 wins from their 22 matches together in 2023, their confidence as a team is growing.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Hunter said of their partnership on The AO Show podcast last week.

“We’re still continually working on our games together. It’s nice to have a consistent partner that we can kind of work together towards these goals.

“She’s someone that’s had a lot of experience. She’s won Grand Slams, she’s been world No.1 in doubles. So just using her to help me as well, and believe in myself in those moments – that’s been really great.”

This is 28-year-old Hunter’s sixth career appearance in a Grand Slam ladies’ doubles quarterfinal. She has made this stage once before at Wimbledon, during her breakout semifinal run in 2021.

It is a fourth consecutive ladies’ doubles quarterfinal at the All England Club for 27-year-old Mertens, who won the 2021 title and was a finalist last year.

In girls’ doubles action, Emerson Jones and Taylah Preston both lost their first-round matches.

They now turn their attention to singles, where they are enjoying a history-making run.

Aussies in action – Wimbledon

Ladies’ doubles, third round
[3] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) d Miriam Kolodziejova (CZE)/Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) w/o

Girls’ doubles, first round
Hannah Klugman (GBR)/Isabelle Lacy (GBR) d Emerson Jones (AUS)/Ela Milic (SLO) 6-4 6-2
Wakana Sonobe (JPN)/Tereza Valentova (CZE) d [Alt] Taylah Preston (AUS)/Alina Korneeva 7-5 2-6 [14-12]

> READ: Ebden saves match points to reach Wimbledon doubles quarterfinals

Ladies’ doubles, quarterfinals
[3] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v [WC] Naiktha Bains (GBR)/Maia Lumsden (GBR)

> VIEW: Wimbledon 2023 ladies’ doubles draw

Girls’ singles, third round
[13] Emerson Jones (AUS) v [WC] Mika Stojsavljevic (GBR)
[WC] Taylah Preston (AUS) 
v [8] Ena Koike (JPN)

> VIEW: Wimbledon 2023 girls’ singles draw

Girls’ doubles, first round
Roisin Gilheany (AUS)/Daniela Piani (GBR) v [1] Lucciana Perez Alarcon (PER)/Kaitlin Quevedo (USA)
Lily Taylor (AUS)/Zuzanna Pawlikowska (POL) v Darja Suvirdjonkova (SRB)/Vendula Valdmannova (CZE)

> VIEW: Wimbledon 2023 girls’ doubles draw

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