Monica Puig is set to become the first Puerto Rican woman to win an Olympic medal in any sport, as she defeated Czech Petra Kvitova 6-4 1-6 6-3 in the women's tennis semifinals of the Olympic Games in one hour and 53 minutes.
The two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova made it abundantly clear she wasn't feeling any nerves by opening her semifinal in Rio with the first 11 points of the match going to her, as she raced into a 3-0 lead. But Puerto Rico's bright hope responded by counter attacking the Czech, fighting back and levelling at 4-4. Puig then dominated Kvitova, broke her serve and seized the opportunity to really shift the balance of play, taking the first set 6-4.
Regrouping from losing the first set, Kvitova again came out with a real burst of energy. The 26-year-old took control and showed her class to take the second set 6-1. The low groundstrokes punished Puig and her serve was causing lots of problems as the match entered into a deciding set.
For the first time in the match, the 22-year-old Puig was the one to take the early initiative, and take the break to lead 2-0. However, the survival skills of Kvitova kicked in again to level at 2-2. Once again the pendulum continued to be swung abruptly each way, as Puig and Kvitova continued to break each other's serves, but Puig seemed to be the one who looked more in control when having the upper hand, served for the match at 5-3 and wild celebrations followed.
It was a performance of high calibre from the Puerto Rican, who will try to become the first athlete from Puerto Rico to win a gold medal. Kvitova will rue the chance she missed to fight for a gold medal, as there were countless opportunities for her out there to take advantage of.
Puig's opponent in the final will be the winner of the upcoming match between Angelique Kerber and Madison Keys. (photo: Jimmie48)