New York | Stearns sees off Boulter

British No 1 Katie Boulter suffered a disappointing 6-4 6-3 loss to Peyton Stearns, a 21-year American, in the 3rd-round of the US Open on Saturday, but will be rewarded for her fine run in New York with a boost in her ranking.

I can sit here and say it was tough losing today, but ultimately I have to be happy with where I am at. I am at a career-high ranking, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting more though. Ultimately, this is my moment to push on. I want to make it further at the Grand Slams. I have been very consistent and I feel like I am really building something. Katie Boulter

Stearns may not be much of a household name as yet, but she has dropped just 17 games in wins over Viktoriya Tomova, Clara Tauson and now Boulter en route to recording her best-ever showing at a Grand Slam.

Boulter’s low-key exit followed strong performances in the two opening rounds of the season-ending major at Flushing Meadows, and the 27-year-old has plenty to be upbeat about, with her most recent Grand Slam appearance following her 3rd-round showing at Wimbledon.

She is projected to climb into the top 50 of the WTA Rankings for the first time in her career after picking up 110 points in New York, which is impressive for a player who was ranked 157 in the world in March earlier this year.

Boulter, who also won her maiden WTA Tour singles title at the Nottingham Open in June, is delighted with her progress, and feels there is more to come.

“My last three Grand Slams [besides qualifiers] have been third rounds,” she told reporters after the match. “I have proven that I can play matches, not only on a grass court, which, for me, is where I gain my confidence.

“I can sit here and say it was tough losing today, but ultimately I have to be happy with where I am at. I am at a career-high ranking, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting more though.

“Ultimately, this is my moment to push on. I want to make it further at the Grand Slams. I have been very consistent and I feel like I am really building something.

“It’s not going to be one Grand Slams, I am not going to be that person, but I am slowly building, and that is where I am getting my satisfaction.”


Peyton Stearns, who has made a meteoric rise to No 59 in the world, beat Katie Boulter in straight sets at Flushing Meadows

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

While competing for the University of Texas, the same school where her mother was a competitive gymnast, Stearns captured the 2022 NCAA women’s team and singles championship titles, and then decided to see whether her game would hold up on the pro circuit.

Stearns came into the 2023 US Open ranked No 59 in the world, over 200 spots higher than her ranking a year ago.

Her meteoric rise is due to an incredible string of results over the course of the entire season, including a final appearance at a WTA 250 in Colombia in April, which propelled Stearns into the world’s Top 100 for the first time.

A month later, at a tournament in Rabat, Morocco, she upset 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez to reach the quarter-finals, where she pushed 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens to a third-set tiebreak.

Given her run of form, Stearns will probably remain a part of the tour for the foreseeable future, but she still plans to finish her degree through online courses.

“I’ve always wanted to become a dentist,” she said after her 2nd-round match. “I don’t know why, I’ve just always wanted to. I know that’s really hard, so I’m gonna take my time!”

At Roland Garros in May, Stearns faced No 17 seed Jelena Ostapenko, a former champion, and secured the biggest win of her career.

Playing Boulter, she had the support of the partisan crowd.

“People show up for the Americans here, and I’m loving it,” she said. “They’re loud, they were loud during my match.

“I thrive off that kind of energy. And even if they aren’t loud for me and they’re loud for my opponent, it kinda creates a fire [in me] like, ‘OK, prove them wrong.'”

In her last encounter with Boulter, which occurred in the 1st-round of Austin, Texas earlier this year, they had played 3 consecutive tiebreak sets over the course of 3 hours and 34 minutes, with Stearns ultimately emerging victorious.

“I think it was one of the longest matches at the beginning of the year,” Stearns said ahead of her match with Boulter. “So we’ll see.”


Katie Boulter could not find the same form that saw her make the 3rd round at both the US Open and Wimbledon against Peyton Stearns on Saturday

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Stearns rolled in the re-match, opening up a 4-1 lead in the first set and never looking back, as she broke Boulter 3 times in 1 hour and 37 minutes to book her spot in the second week, when she will meet Marketa Vondrousova, the reigning Wimbledon Champion, who was a swift 6-2 6-1 winner over Ekaterina Alexandrova, the No 22 seed from Russia.

As for Boulter, now that the Grand Slam season is over for another year, she was asked about her future plans.

“I haven’t had that conversation at all,” she said. I haven’t even considered Asia yet.

“After today I will chat with my coach and my team about what my plan is. I am definitely going to go to Asia, but I don’t know exactly which tournaments. I think I am going to start in about two weeks’ time.

“I would love to play Billie Jean King Cup, but I have not had that conversation with Annie K [Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong] yet.”




Previous

Next

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com