It is finals day at the Domain Tennis Centre and after a week of excellent tennis, today the Hobart International 2018 champions will be crowned.
Singles final, Centre Court from noon
(2) Elise Mertens (BEL) v Mihaela Buzarnescu
The Hobart International was where Elise Mertens won her first WTA title in 2017. Can she win her second here too? No player in the tournament’s history has won the singles title twice, but the 22-year-old from Belgium is now only one win away.
“Every final is special, especially here,” Mertens said. “This where it all started for me in 2017.”
Mertens starts as the red-hot favourite, a position she has never been in before.
“It’s the first time I’m the higher-ranked player, so it’s going to be different on paper. But for me it’s going to be the same,” she said.
“I’m just going to give it my all as usual. It’s going to be mentally tough for both – of course you want to win the title. It’s going to be an exciting match.”
Mihaela Buzarnescu also has a lot to play for, with the 29-year-old aiming to win her first WTA title.
“It would be an amazing result for me and also my family who always believed that I can do it,” Buzarnescu said of what a title win would mean to her.
The Romanian has lost her two previous matches against Mertens, both at ITF level.
“She’s a tough player, she’s been playing really well since last year here. I just want to play a good game and do the best I can do,” Buzarnescu said.
“You need to be solid against her and patient as well. She’s a patient player and smart as well, I’ll need to fight a lot.”
Doubles final, Centre Court after suitable rest
(3) Elise Mertens (BEL) / Demi Schuurs (NED) v (4) Lyudmyla Kichenok (UKR) / Makoto Ninomiya (JPN)
It’s a busy day for Elise Mertens, who will also contest the doubles final alongside Dutch partner Demi Schuurs. The third-seeded duo are aiming to win their second WTA title together.
Mertens could become only the second player in the tournament’s history to win both the singles and doubles title in the same year. The only player to achieve that feat was China’s Zheng Jie in 2005.
They face fourth seeds Lyudmyla Kichenok and Makoto Ninomiya, who are a new combination this season.
“It’s our second tournament together, so it’s not bad so far,” Kichenok said after their three-set semifinal win yesterday.
Kichenok, a 25-year-old from the Ukraine, is aiming to win her first WTA doubles title. Her partner, a 23-year-old from Japan is aiming to win her second.