Monica Puig stuns Kerber in final, wins Puerto Rico’s first Olympic gold
Amidst chants of “Puer-to Ri-co!”, the World No. 34 Monica Puig took down World No. 2 Angelique Kerber in the women's singles final to win her territory’s first Olympic gold medal.
Puig, 22, was an underdog from the outset - she wasn't even seeded at this competition. Her biggest career achievement until reaching the final was winning a relatively minor tournament, the Internationaux de Strasbourg in France. But she played exceptionally aggressive tennis, whacking the ball from every angle and throwing herself around the court.
At times, her play was too aggressive – sending balls past the baseline or ripping shots into the net. This was especially evident during the second set, which Kerber won 6-4.
It wasn’t that the World No. 2 played particularly badly – she just couldn’t keep up with Puig’s frenetic pace and rock-solid defense.
After two tight sets, Puig all but destroyed Kerber in the third. The Puerto Rican won five games before the German took even one. Though she began to show some nerves as she served for the match, Puig ultimately took that game - and the set - 6-1.
Final score: 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.
Kerber has had a sensational 2016 that kicked off with a win at the Australian Open. She defeated World No. 1 Serena Williams in the final. Though the German crashed out of the French Open in the early rounds, she made it to the Wimbledon final. At the British tournament, she lost to Serena Williams.
The women's singles field has been wildly inconsistent this year, with only a few big names producing steady results. But at the Olympics, even Serena Williams lost in the third round of competiton; Poland's Aga Radwanska and Spain's Garbine Muguruza experienced similarly early exits. (Muguruza actually fell to Puig in a third round match-up.)
In addition to winning her homeland's first gold medal, Puig is Puerto Rico's first female Olympic medalist.