The quest for Olympic gold is a long journey for the best athletes in the world, but the wait is over for Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig. On Saturday night, she won the gold medal in women’s tennis singles at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Bringing the first gold medal to her native country – one that has loyally followed her development – this is what dreams are made of. Pica Power triumphed today.
During the first set Puig and her opponent, the now-silver medalist and world’s No. 2, Angelique Kerber, played a close set almost alternating every set point. Puig ultimately won the first set 6-4. Next, Germany’s Kerber called for a medical time out, temporarily pausing the game. When play resumed, Kerber returned in better form and ultimately won the set 6-4, tying the game with one set a piece. This forced a decisive third set, in which Puig won the first 5 set points consecutively. Kerber played a good game throughout and didn’t give up in the final set, winning one set point before Puig finished the game 6-1.
Not only is this Puerto Rico’s first Olympic gold medal in any sport by any athlete (man or woman), Puig is the first female athlete to win any medal for Puerto Rico, and it’s the first medal won in tennis.
Before reaching the finals, Puig surprised many by beating players ranked above her according to the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). Currently occupying spot No. 34 in the world rankings, Puig triumphed against 4th ranked Garbiñe Muguruza from Spain, Germany’s Laura Siegemund who’s ranked 32, and Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic who is ranked No. 14.
As fans waved German and Puerto Rican flags in the stands, 22-year-old Puig made sports history for Puerto Rico and women’s tennis with her Cinderella story. For the first time at the Olympics, the Puerto Rican national anthem was played for all to hear. Check out some of the best moments of the match below: