What a week for Monica Puig. The 22-year-old ranked No. 34 in the world had never played the Olympics, never beaten a Top 3 player, had just one career title to her name and her country of Puerto Rico had never won a gold medal in any sport in any Olympics! But that has changed.
Earlier Saturday, Puig stunned World No. 2 and Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 to take the women’s singles gold medal at the Rio Olympics.
The win capped off a dream week for Puig that saw her beat Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova and Kerber.
“I’m in shock, I just don’t even really know what to say. I’m so excited,” Puig said.
“This is for Puerto Rico. This is definitely for them,” she added. “They’re going through some tough times right now, and they needed this. I needed this.
“I think I united a nation. I just love where I come from.”
Puig raced out quick in the first set but after an injury timeout for Kerber that preceded the second, the German got her bearings and forced the third.
With Kerber holding the momentum, it was Puig all the way in the finale taking a 5-0 lead.
She finished with a jaw-dropping 54 winners (33 unforced) against one of the best defenders in the women’s game. And she went 5/7 on break chances while Kerber was just 3/12.
“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,” Puig said. “The gold medal.”
Kerber was gunning for the gold, but she’ll take the silver.
“It’s not the medal I wish but still it’s silver, and before I came here I said to myself I would do everything to win a medal and I won a silver one and I’m proud to represent my country and to take an Olympic medal back home.”
— Comité Olímpico PUR (@ComiteOlimpico) August 14, 2016
— Monica Puig (@MonicaAce93) August 14, 2016
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