Upstart Puig, confident Kerber meet in Olympic tennis final

Kvitova is scheduled to compete in the Premier 5 event in Cincinnati next week, where she could face Olympic champion Monica Puig in the second round.

At this stage, Puig was just two games away from an improbable Gold Medal, however Kerber would break in the next game and then held to take the second set 6-4 and level the match at one-set all.

Kerber was broken again and though she fought hard in the final phase, and almost managed to get one break back, Puig sealed her victory after 2 hours and 9 minutes and threw away her racket as she was overcome with emotion.

On Friday, after beating two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the semifinals, Puig had vowed to win gold and bring some light relief to Puerto Rico.

Puig becomes the first Puerto Rican woman to win an Olympic Gold Medal, let alone an Olympic Medal (all of the country's previous medallists were won by men), and becomes the lowest-ranked woman to do so.

In a way, Puig's win served to highlight the Caribbean island's standing in the world order. "This Olympics isn't about me it's about Puerto Rico and I know how bad they want this".

"That island has given me so much".

"It's always tough", Puig said of playing against the Top 5.

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Britain's Murray, the world number two, edged into the last four 6-0 4-6 7-6 (2) but was pushed to the limit by the 22nd-ranked Johnson, who came back to win the second set after being brushed aside in the first.

"In every match, I got better and better". Kerber said later that bothered her from the outset, but it wasn't why she lost. Puig added that she had to play some inspired tennis to beat her.

Also notable about Puig: She is the first unseeded woman to win the singles title since tennis returned to the Olympics in 1988.

Despite being born in San Juan, Puig has spent most of her life in Miami and her pronounced American accent masks any trace of her roots.

CNN's Don Riddell reported that an emotional Puig entered the press room on her phone later Saturday screaming "Yes, I did it" to the person - believed to be her mother - on the other end. "I just achieved one of my biggest dreams". Both dumped shots into the net; Puig double-faulted at 40-40 to give Kerber an edge - but she recovered well, and, after slamming powerful forehands across the net, she erased Kerber's advantage with a soft lob that Kerber couldn't reach.

Keys' 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 loss to the Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova on Saturday in the women's bronze-medal match came less than 20 hours after she fell to Angelique Kerber in the semifinal.

As soon as reality hits Puig, she will add a whole lot more value to what happened in Rio. Keys had plenty of chances to break and take control of the match but just wasn't able to finish the job.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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