Dawg in the game: Peyton Stearns' remarkable rise to maiden WTA title at Rabat Open

Saturday, 25 May 2024 at 14:58
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Peyton Stearns has said all week that she has the 'dawg' in her and that is certainly the case at the Rabat Open as it has taken her all the way to a maiden WTA title for the 22-year-old American defeating Mayar Sherif 6-2, 6-1 in a rampant final win.
Stearns who survived marathon match after marathon match this week trailed Lucia Bronzetti 5-0 in the third set of the Quarter-Final. But she reeled off seven games in a row from 40-30 down to seal the win 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. She staved off two match points and wasn't done there. She had to grind through against Viktoriya Tomova 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 in one of the top 15 longest matches this season in the WTA.
In reality, her final win was a walk in the park. She won in an hour and 12 minutes and defeated the 66th ranked Egyptian and will move up from World No.81 herself. Stearns has been playing a lot of lower level tennis in recent weeks and has been gaining wins. From being fairly inconsistent but a flashy player when she is on form, she has put together a run.
She reached the Quarter-Finals in Parma last week and the same in Saint-Malo the week before with good match wins. But has sealed a maiden WTA title today. It is also the first title while with her new coach and a familiar face to those who follow women's tennis.
Previously having Eric Hechtman as her coach, the NCAA champion recently split with the American in order to forge a partnership with Tom Hill. Long-time coach of Maria Sakkari, he took her to the summit of women's tennis albeit without perhaps the titles that she deserved. Sakkari herself has improved since then with David Witt, but Hill's stock has been on the rise as a result.
So deciding to team up with a rising star and a character in Stearns might prove to be the tonic and was the case in Rabat this week. After a breakout in reaching the 2023 final in Bogota, Stearns is now a WTA champion. She will begin her French Open campaign on Monday against a qualifier.

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