Louise Hunt has returned to No.12 in this week’s women’s singles world rankings after the Wanborough Paralympian recorded her best results of 2016 to date to win her second ITF 2 Israel Open at the end of last week.
Hunt, a member of the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme, ended the tournament as both women’s singles and doubles champion and having defeated both the top two seeds to claim her first singles title of the season.
The 24-year-old began her latest visit to Israel with a 6-2, 6-3 win over South Africa’s Mariska Venter before digging deep to win a thrilling semi-final against Dutch second seed Michaela Spaanstra 0-6, 6-3, 7-6(5). Hunt then went on to secure her fourth career win over Germany’s world No.10 Katharina Kruger 7-5, 7-5.
“I’m so pleased to have won my first singles title of the year here. This tournament is special to me as I won it in 2012, which helped me qualify for the London Paralympics. I’ve been recalling those memories on recent schools visits, so it’s really exciting that I’ve returned to Israel and I’ve won it again in Paralympic year,” said Hunt, who is also an athlete mentor for the Tennis Foundation’s Beyond The Baseline secondary school programme that uses tennis and inspirational tennis mentors to nurture pupils’ aspirations.
“My semi-final against Michaela was a bit of a scare, the first set wasn’t good at all. I was so nervous but I’m so proud of how I turned it around to win in three. I’ve been disappointed with my recent singles matches against Kruger and I was ready for a tough fight, so to win it in two sets was just brilliant. It was great having my coach Ali Ward with me all week, it made such a difference and thanks to the Tennis Foundation for making that possible.”
Hunt’s fourth doubles title of the season came with Japan’s Miho Nijo as her partner. The duo won two close matches as Hunt followed up on her women’s doubles crown partnering Kruger at the ITF 3 Alpi del Mare in Italy at the end of March, having also secured wins in doubles events in Australia and Great Britain earlier in the year.