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TENNIS: Hunt hits new high ahead of Cali event
6:00am Tuesday 5th November 2013 in Sport
LOUISE Hunt goes into Thursday’s ITF Wheelchair Doubles Masters in California buoyed by a new career-high doubles ranking.
The 22-year-old moved up two places to number 12 after finishing runner-up in the women’s doubles at the Nottingham Indoor, beating her previous best of 13th.
Second seeds Hunt and Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock, who were the defending Nottingham Indoor champions, dropped just four games in their first two matches en route to Saturday’s final.
The duo were edged out of the first set by top seeds and London 2012 bronze medallists Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley, but led 3-2 in the second set when Hunt had to retire.
However, with this year’s Nottingham Indoor having been upgraded to ITF 1 Series status this year, the Wanborough ace has gained valuable doubles points.
“To go into the Doubles Masters with a career-best ranking is very encouraging, although it was disappointing to have to pull out of the final in Nottingham,” she said.
“I’ve done a lot in a short space of time, recently, with tournaments and working hard in training, so my racket arm was just feeling tight and after consulting the physio it just seemed best to pull out.
“Me and Sabine both have the Doubles Masters coming up and we’d already defended our points from last year by reaching the final.”
Hunt had saved two match points on the opening day of the Nottingham Indoor to edge through her opening singles match against Dutchwoman Michaela Spaanstra 3-6, 7-6, 6-3.
But despite taking a 2-0 second-set lead in her quarter-final against world number two and top seed Ellerbrock, Hunt eventually slipped to a 6-2, 6-3 loss.
The British number three will partner Japan’s Miho Nijo in California, where she will be one of nine players on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme to contest the year-end championship for the world’s leading doubles players.
“I got a call when I arrived in Nottingham to say that Miho’s original partner was unable to play and would I be able to play in California with her, so I jumped at the opportunity,” said Hunt.
“It’s always a privilege to play at the Masters and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“We’ve never actually played together before, but we’re both ranked inside the world’s top 15 and can hopefully cause an upset or two.”