|Intro||Belgian tennis player|
|Is||Athlete Tennis player|
|Birth||17 November 1995, Leuven, Arrondissement of Leuven, Flemish Brabant, Belgium|
|Residence||Hamont-Achel, Arrondissement of Maaseik, Limburg, Belgium|
Elise Mertens ([ˈmɛrtəns]; born 17 November 1995) is a Belgian professional tennis player.
Mertens has won five singles and nine doubles titles on the WTA Tour, including one Grand Slam doubles title at the 2019 US Open, as well as eleven singles and thirteen doubles titles on the ITF Circuit. She has a career-high singles ranking of world No. 12, achieved on 26 November 2018, and a best doubles ranking of No. 2, achieved on 9 September 2019.
Mertens was born in Leuven, the second daughter of Liliane Barbe, a teacher, and Guido Mertens, who makes furniture for churches. She was home-schooled and enjoyed studying languages, having learned to speak French, English and Dutch/Flemish. Her older sister, Lauren, is currently an airline pilot and introduced the then 4-year-old Elise to tennis. While growing up, Mertens looked up to Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, and is currently a member of the Kim Clijsters Academy, where she has been training since 2015. She is not related to Belgium’s international footballer Dries Mertens or fellow tennis player Yannick Mertens.
Early and junior years
Mertens was a doubles finalist at the 2014 QNet Open, alongside Marina Melnikova.
Mertens made her WTA main-draw debut at the 2015 Copa Colsanitas in the doubles event, partnering Nastja Kolar. She won her first WTA doubles title at the 2016 ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, partnering An-Sophie Mestach.
2017: First WTA singles title and top 40 debut
In January, Mertens won the Hobart International, beating No. 3 seed Monica Niculescu in the final. As a result of this she broke into the WTA top 100 for the first time, on 16 January 2017.
After missing the Australian Open qualifying due to her Hobart campaign, Mertens reached the first round of the St. Petersburg Ladies' Trophy through qualifying, and lost to Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets. She then competed at the Dubai Tennis Championships, where, as a qualifier, she beat Tsvetana Pironkova en route to the second round, where she lost to Agnieszka Radwańska. Despite her loss, Mertens reached a new career-ranking of world No. 69. She then lost in the first round of the Malaysian Open to qualifier and eventual quarterfinalist Lesley Kerkhove. After that, she failed to qualify to both Indian Wells and Miami Open, losing in the first round of qualifying to Sachia Vickery and Alison Van Uytvanck, respectively.
2018: First Grand Slam semifinal, three titles, Masters double qualification
Mertens began the season by becoming the first woman to win back-to-back titles in Hobart. She defeated Mihaela Buzărnescu in the final, defending her title from 2017. Along with Demi Schuurs, she also won the doubles title.
Mertens' season continued with her main-draw debut at the Australian Open. She defeated qualifier Viktória Kužmová, 23rd seed Daria Gavrilova, Alizé Cornet and Petra Martić, all in straight sets, to advance to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. In the quarterfinal, Mertens achieved her first victory over a top five ranked player, defeating Elina Svitolina, again in straight sets. With her win over Svitolina, Mertens became the third Belgian woman to reach the last four at the tournament, joining former ranking leaders Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters. In the semifinals she lost to Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets.
After her good form in Australia, Mertens had some difficult weeks. She lost respectively in the first round of Doha, Dubai and Indian Wells and in the second round in Miami. In April, she reached her fourth singles final and second of the year at the Ladies Open Lugano in Switzerland. She won the title by beating Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets. Together with compatriot Kirsten Flipkens, she also won the doubles title. Two weeks later, she also won the singles title at the Morocco Open by defeating Australian Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets.
Mertens lost in the second round at Madrid to top seed Simona Halep. She reached the fourth round at the French Open, defeating Varvara Lepchenko, Heather Watson, and Daria Gavrilova before falling again to Halep, who went on to win the title. Seeded second at 's Hertogenbosch, she lost in the second round to Antonia Lottner.
Mertens started off the grass-court season with first-round loss to qualifier Dalila Jakupović in Birmingham. In Eastbourne she lost in third round to Aryna Sabalenka. At Wimbledon, Mertens lost in third round to Dominika Cibulková.
In the American swing, Mertens reached the semifinals in San Jose as well as quarterfinals in Montreal and Cincinnati. In doubles, she lost the final in Cincinnati and won in Wuhan, partnering Demi Schuurs.
2019: First Premier title, Sunshine Double and US Open title in doubles
Mertens started in Brisbane with a first-round exit against top-10 player and sixth seed Kiki Bertens, she lost the match in three sets. Then in Sydney, she got her first two wins of the season by defeating Katerina Siniaková and Anett Kontaveit before losing in the quarterfinals to Ashleigh Barty.
As semifinalist of last year, she entered at the Australian Open as 12th seed, she won her first and second match in straight sets before falling to 17th seed Madison Keys in the third round.
After the Australian tour and a fall in the WTA rankings to No. 21, Mertens played Fed Cup in her homecountry for the first time. She was unable to win her two matches against Frenchwomen Alizé Cornet and Caroline Garcia. In the week after, she moved to Doha to play the Qatar Open. She began unseeded at this tournament, but she surprisingly won her first Premier title. On her route to the tournament win, she took the scalp of three top-10 players, including Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep. After her biggest career win to date, she came back in the top 20 at No. 16.
Just two days later, Mertens played in Dubai, where she was placed as 16th seed. She lost in her opening-match against qualifier Zhu Lin after a battle of near three hours.
In March, Mertens started her American tour at Indian Wells. She was 16th seeded but lost in the third round in another battle near three hours against Chinese 18th seed Wang Qiang. Even though she lost early in singles, she was able to win her biggest doubles title to date, alongside Aryna Sabalenka at Indian Wells. Defeating first seeds Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková in the final. Two weeks later, the pair was also able to win the Miami Open doubles title, completing the Sunshine Double. Mertens and Sabalenka became just the fifth doubles pairing in history, and first since Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza in 2015, to complete the Sunshine Double in doubles.
At the US Open, in September, Mertens reached the quarterfinals in singles and together with Sabalenka won the ladies doubles event, thus becoming the first Belgian to reach a US Open final, as well as winning one, in doubles.
Mertens is a baseline player. She has consistent groundstrokes on both her forehand and backhand. She is quick moving laterally and she has precise timing on her groundstrokes which allows her to take the ball on the rise as well as redirect it. Her serve is reliable but not too forceful. When she is playing well she is able to hit many winners from the baseline.
Grand Slam tournament performance timelines
|Australian Open||A||Q2||A||SF||3R||4R||0 / 3||7–3||77%|
|French Open||A||Q3||3R||4R||3R||0 / 3||7–3||70%|
|Wimbledon||Q3||Q2||1R||3R||4R||NH||0 / 3||5–3||63%|
|US Open||Q1||1R||1R||4R||QF||0 / 4||7–4||64%|
|Win–loss||0–0||0–1||2–3||13–4||11–4||3–1||0 / 13||29–13||69%|
|Australian Open||A||A||2R||1R||3R||QF||0 / 4||6–4||60%|
|French Open||A||A||1R||1R||SF||0 / 3||4–3||57%|
|Wimbledon||A||2R||3R||3R||QF||NH||0 / 4||8–4||67%|
|US Open||A||A||2R||QF||W||1 / 3||10–2||83%|
|Win–loss||0–0||1–1||4–4||5–4||15–3||3–1||1 / 14||28–13||68%|
Grand Slam tournament finals
Doubles: 1 (1 title)
|Win||2019||US Open||Hard||Aryna Sabalenka|| Victoria Azarenka