Peyton Stearns Overcomes 5 Match-Point Misses for Dramatic Roland Garros Victory

Peyton Stearns defied the odds and secured a sensational victory over Lucija Ciric Bagaric, despite encountering five match-point challenges and a premature celebration in a thrilling Roland Garros showdown.

The 22-year-old American defeated Lucija Ciric Bagaric 6-3, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (6) after improbably losing the second set and appearing to win the third.

Peyton Stearns Overcomes 5 Match-Point Misses for Dramatic Roland Garros Victory

The 22-year-old American lost 0–5 to Lucia Bronzetti in the third set of her quarterfinal match, but she went on to win the WTA 250 title in Rabat, Morocco, last week. Despite being well favored, the former Texas Longhorn player scored a touchdown and went on to win seven straight games while avoiding two match points in an improbable triumph.

Given the information and the events that occurred in Paris a few days later, her chances of winning Roland Garros may be improved.

Tuesday, behind Lucija (that name again?) Ciric Bagaric 6-3, 5-4, 40-15, Stearns committed four straight errors, losing two match chances. She would gain three more match points in the tiebreaker after losing that game and then at love at 6-5. She wasted five match points by failing to convert any.

The drizzle that had interrupted the day’s plans reappeared just as Stearns was walking to her chair after she had improbably misplaced the second set. Usually a picture of poise, Stearns threw her arms toward the dark, bleak sky and chatted to her racquet.

“After the switch, I definitely let out some negative things to myself,” Stearns remarked. “I believe that [the rain] was something on the back of my mind. didn’t even slightly relieve the stiffness and tension.”

Also Read: Rafael Nadal’s Record Breaking Roland Garros Reign: Challenged by Alexander Zverev in 2024

After all that, Stearns might have been inclined to give up. But astonishingly, Stearns showed enough mental toughness to win once more. “Had a lot of wild ones lately,” she remarked.

How bizarre? Stearns lost the third set 2-1, 3-2, and 4-3, the latter coming after Ciric Bagaric prevailed in a game that lasted more than ten minutes. With a record of 25-5 in 2024, mostly at lower-tier events, the 184th-ranked Croatian player had an opportunity to seal the match at 5-4.

However, if Stearns could experience it, her opponent could too. Reversing the roles, Stearns shattered Ciric Bagaric when it was most necessary. Stearns stated, “I competed the entire third set.” “I found a way, and that’s the most important thing at the end of the day.”

Stearns said that she believed she had won the match when she reached seven points in the third-set tiebreaker, but the final score of 6-3, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (6) showed that she had won.

After the match, Stearns spoke about her overzealous celebration with Jon Wertheim of Tennis Channel. “I was like, OK, guess you just gotta win again,” she recalled.
Stearns appears to be able to win no matter what she does these days, though she will undoubtedly need to improve her game against world No. 10 Daria Kasatkina in the second round.

“In big moments, trust myself and maintain composure,” Stearns stated. It’s working out well for me right now. I have complete faith in myself.

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