They’ve topped their pool with two wins from two and pulled out some impressive performances in the process.
Britain’s Lucy Shuker and the USA’s Dana Mathewson have been a force to be reckoned with at the 2017 UNIQLO Doubles Masters.
Their successful run in the group stages saw them straight through to the semi-final stages with no dramas, well apart that little second set scare against Kgothatso Montjane and Charlotte Famin on what we are now calling ‘three set Thursday’ – a day which saw all five British players competing needing to go to three sets to get the win.
And Shuker and Mathewson are no stranger to a semi-final stage in the ITF’s year-end doubles tournament.
In fact in 2016 they both went on to feature in the final – just on opposite sides of the net – as Mathewson partnered another Brit Louise Hunt to finish as runner-up and Shuker partnered Diede de Groot, a player with whom she has just won back-to-back doubles titles with at Bath Indoor, and won the tournament finishing 2016 as doubles Masters champion.
Now on the same side of the net no doubt Mathewson will be hoping to go one better than last year and lift the trophy, whilst Shuker will be hoping to retain her title.
Speaking on her hopes for the tournament before heading out to Bemmel Shuker said: “I’d love to end the year as doubles Masters champion again.
“There’s a lot of different partnerships at the event this year though and I respect that there’s a lot of good teams so I don’t think there’s going to be an easy one to pick off.
“Let’s see how it goes and I’ll give it my all.”
A tried and tested partnership
In their semi-final they will go head-to-head with the first time partnership of Aniek van Koot and Sabine Ellerbrock.
But let’s not forget this might be the first time we’ve seen these two players compete together but Van Koot already has two doubles Masters titles to her name, one won with Jiske Griffioen and the other with Sharon Walraven.
Plus it’s always a challenge to take on any partnership who are playing together for the first and you can never underestimate debutante duos in tournaments, no matter what level you’re playing at.
In contrast the Shuker/Mathewson partnership is a relatively tried and tested formula and it’s been a pretty successful one in the past.
They’ve played in tournaments together five times, reached the final on all five occasions and even won two titles together, their first coming at the 2016 Canada International and their latest at the 2017 Arizona Open.
And they’ve had a chance to train together before this tournament as well.
Shuker said: “Dana’s great – she brings great energy to the court and we communicate well as well.
“We’ve done some training together before this as she’s studying over in the UK now and it’s been great to have her here rather than just seeing each other at a tournament.
“And hopefully we’ll have more chances to do it!”