Cancun, Mexico, 2 November 2023 | Rhys de Deugd

Storm Hunter and her Belgian partner Elise Mertens have claimed their second win of the WTA Finals – but it came at the expense of fellow Aussie Ellen Perez and American Nicole Melichar-Martinez.

This was the first showdown between two Australian players at the WTA Finals since 2006.

The match was interrupted by rain several times on Tuesday in Cancun, before it was postponed to the following morning with Hunter and Mertens leading 7-5 2-0.

A tight contest continued when play resumed today, with Perez and Melichar-Martinez snaring a break to tie the second set at 4-all.

But the second seeds ultimately proved to be too strong, breaking back to win the match 7-5 6-4.

Mexico has become a favoured location for the 29-year-old Hunter, who now holds a 14-2 career win-loss doubles record in the country. This includes winning back-to-back WTA 1000 titles in Guadalajara.

With one round-robin match still to play, world No.3 Hunter and world No.5 Mertens sit on top of their group and are in a strong position to progress to the semifinals.

Perez and Melichar-Martinez still have two matches to play in the group stage, which will decide their fate in the tournament.

The next scheduled match for the eighth seeds is against Japanese duo Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, first up on the fifth day of the tournament.

This is the WTA Finals debut for both Hunter and Perez, who will represent Australia in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Seville next week.

Aussies in action – WTA Finals

Women’s doubles, group stage
[2] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) d  [8] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) 7-5 6-4

Women’s doubles, group stage
[2] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v [5] Desirae Krawczyk (USA)/Demi Schuurs (NED)
[8] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v [3] Shuko Aoyama (JPN)/Ena Shibahara (JPN)
[8] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v [5] Desirae Krawczyk (USA)/Demi Schuurs (NED)

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