Misc Tennis

French Open 2024: Is Peyton Stearns on the brink of a career breakthrough?

French Open 2024: Is Peyton Stearns on the brink of a career breakthrough?

PARIS — When Peyton Stearns realized she had forgotten to sign up for the qualifying draw at the Italian Open earlier this month, she was annoyed with herself, and frustrated to miss the opportunity to play in one of the bigger tournaments during the lead-in to the French Open. She had just reached the quarterfinals at the 125-level event in Saint-Malo, France, and now, instead of building on her momentum on the surface, she had to figure out what to do with the unexpected week off.

She had no idea at that time that her gaffe might end up being the turning point in her season.

Instead of going to Rome, the 22-year-old American and her new coach Tom Hill went to Nice, France, for an impromptu training week. They had just started working together in Madrid in April, and hadn’t had any time outside of tournaments to make adjustments. Arriving in the Mediterranean city the day after her loss in Saint-Malo, Hill asked Stearns to name a goal she wanted to achieve this season. Stearns said she wanted to win her first WTA title.

They got to work.

Every day was the same — a lengthy run, a long on-court session, lunch, a workout in the gym, back on court, another run, stretching, dinner at the hotel. Repeat. By the end of the 10-day period, Hill had Stearns run on the treadmill for what she describes as an “insane workout session.” Stearns didn’t think she would make it through, but she did.

Two weeks later, when she was playing in three-hour matches on back-to-back days at the Moroccan Open, Stearns felt more prepared than ever.

“Honestly I got through those matches because I knew deep down I could go for longer,” Stearns told ESPN on Friday. “It had been such vigorous training, I knew what I was capable of, and that I can make it physical. I knew I could win any battle because of what I had been through [in Nice].”

After five matches in six days, Stearns won the title in Morocco with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Mayar Sherif in the final.

Now in Paris, just a week later, and surging with confidence, Stearns is one match away from reaching the second week at a major for the second time in her career and first time at this tournament. On Saturday, she’ll face Mirra Andreeva in the third round, and look to achieve her latest milestone in what she hopes will be a season filled with them.

“Tom came in and kind of took my life and flipped it real quick and in a good way,” Stearns said. “The results so far speak for themselves but…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at www.espn.com – TENNIS…