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Aussie Hunter claims year-end doubles No.1 ranking

3 minute read

Storm Hunter has joined tennis great Samantha Stosur as only the second Australian woman to claim the year-end No.1 doubles ranking.

SAMANTHA STOSUR. Picture: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Storm Hunter feels like she's living out a dream after securing the year-end world No.1 doubles ranking despite falling in the semi-finals of the 2023 WTA Finals in Mexico.

Hunter joins former grand slam singles champion Samantha Stosur as only the second Australian to claim the honour, with Rennae Stubbs also rising to No.1 in doubles without accomplishing the year-ending feat.

Hunter and her Belgian partner Elise Mertens topped their group unbeaten after winning all three of their round-robin matches in Cancun.

But they lost their semi-final 3-6 6-3 10-5 in a match tiebreaker to Russian Vera Zvonareva and German Laura Siegemund at the rain-marred showpiece on Monday (AEDT).

Zvonareva and Siegemund earlier upset American top seeds Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula 6-3 4-6 10-8 to advance to the semis.

Defeat for Gauff and Pegula, the current co-No.1s, clinched the top ranking for Hunter.

"It's amazing and it means everything. It's a dream come true," Hunter said.

"It's very difficult to even put into words as I never thought this would happen to me in my life.

"I've stuck at it day in, day out, good matches and bad matches, I just focus on each day and take it as it comes."

Winning the elite season-ending crown would have added the cherry on top for the 29-year-old Queenslander.

Either way, she has still enjoyed a golden 2023 campaign.

Hunter has already won WTA titles in Rome and Guadalajara and made the Wimbledon decider, all with Mertens.

She also reached finals in Adelaide with Katerina Siniakova and in Birmingham with Alycia Parks.

A mixed US Open champion last year with fellow Australian John Peers, Hunter's success hasn't been limited to doubles, though.

The classy southpaw also qualified for the main-draw singles at the French Open and Wimbledon and was Australia's only woman to progress to the second round at Roland Garros.

While Hunter has bowed out, compatriot Ellen Perez is through to the final in Cancun with American Nicole Melichar-Martinez.

Perez and Melichar-Martinez outlasted Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski and New Zealand's Erin Routliffe 6-1 6-7 (1-7) 10-6 in a match tiebreaker in the first semi-final.

In advancing to the final, though, Perez will miss Australia's opening tie at the Billie Jean Cup in Spain.

With torrential rain in Cancun forcing both the singles and doubles finals to run a day late, Perez will be unable to make it to Seville in time for Tuesday's clash with Slovenia.

Even Hunter is in some doubt.