Puig Makes Olympic History

Monica Puig (photo: twitter Rio 2016)

RIO DE JANEIRO, August 14, 2016

Monica Puig captured the gold medal in a thrilling women’s final of the Olympic Games in Rio on Saturday evening. The world number 34 from Puerto Rico defeated second seed Angelique Kerber 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

Puig took the opening set with a break of serve. During changeover, Kerber called for the trainer, received some treatment on court, then decided to call for an injury time out to go off court and got some treatment. The German returned in style, setting the tone early in the second set, gaining a break in the opening game and eventually took the match the distance.

In the final set, Puig was back in control, impressed with an aggressive performance, great length and good angles in her shots. The 22-year-old was just full of confidence, outclassed her opponent in a couple of rallies and secured the first gold medal for Puerto Rico after two hours and nine minutes.

“It’s just amazing,” said Puig. “I know my country really appreciates this, and I really wanted to give this victory to them. The way that I did it tonight, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

“I know that my life is probably going to change a little bit from here on out, but it’s going to change for the better I know.

“It was inevitable to block out the noise going on in the stadium. What I did hear everybody saying is, ‘Yes, you can, yes, you can, yes, you can’. I kept repeating it inside myself, ‘Yes, I can, yes, I can, yes, I can’. 

“It helped me believe and show me they were there for me whether I was going to win or lose. I was so proud of the support I had out there tonight.” 

Puig is the first unseeded woman to win an Olympic gold medal in tennis and she has done so by taking out three Grand Slam champions – Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber.

“I just achieved one of my biggest dreams. I’m just so happy I was able to be the first Puerto Rican woman to win a medal at the Games, and not just any medal… the gold medal.”  

Kerber was obviously disapointed. “It is not the medal I wanted to win, but it is silver,” the German told. “I am sad but also proud. Monica played one of her best matches in her career.” 

Czechs Win Bronze Medals

Earlier the day, Petra Kvitova won the Bronze Medal with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 victory over Madison Keys from the United States. The 11th seed from the Czech Republic capitalized on three of her eight break point chances to finish the encounter after two hours and 12 minutes.

“I’m still a bit emotional, so if I cry, sorry… It means almost everything, definitely. Having a medal from the Olympics is one of the best things that’s happened in my career definitely, along with the two Wimbledon titles and winning Fed Cups and WTA,” Kvitova told.

“It’s definitely one of the best days today. I hope I’m going to celebrate it. I’m very proud that I could bring it to the Czech Republic.”

Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova won Bronze in the women’s doubles competition. The pair denied their Czech compatriots and London 2012 silver medallists Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka a second Olympic medal with a 7-5, 6-1 triumph on Court 1.