Peyton Stearns reaches first WTA final in Bogota, cracks Top 100
2022 NCAA singles champion Peyton Stearns hit another milestone in what's been a breakthrough 2023 season so far this week in Bogota, Colombia, where she reached the first tour-level singles final of her young career.
In just her fifth WTA main draw, the former University of Texas star and three-time All-American won four matches before falling in a competitive three-set final to defending champion Tatjana Maria of Germany at the Copa Colsanitas, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
To reach the final, Stearns—who came into the event ranked No. 116—lost just nine games in her first two matches combined to reach her second WTA quarterfinal (her first came last month at the WTA 250 in Austin, Texas) and knocked off former Roland Garros semifinalist Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia—a former world No. 22—and No. 4 seed Kamilla Rakhimova, both in three sets, to reach the final.
Against Rakhimova, the world No. 90, Stearns trailed by a set, and navigated through a lengthy rain delay, en route to a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win. Stearns' fighting qualities were also on display in the final against 2022 Wimbledon semifinalist Maria, though she eventually fell short in just over two hours; she trailed by a set and a break before winning five straight games to force a final set.
Maria, a former Top 50 player now ranked No. 66, is just the fourth player in tournament history to win multiple titles in Bogota.
"This was an amazing tournament and definitely one to remember," Stearns said in her runner-up speech. "Thanks to everyone who came out today ... and who made this tournament possible. Congratulations to Tatjana; I hope to see you next year in the finals, battling again."
Doubly notable is that this run will put Stearns inside the Top 100 of the WTA rankings on Monday for the first time in her career. Since the 21-year-old Mason, Ohio native turned professional last June, her ranking has shaved nearly 300 spots off her position, from No. 384 to No. 89.