Monica Puig tops Angelique Kerber to claim Puerto Rico’s first ever gold!

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The 34th-ranked tennis player defeated Angelique Kerber to give her home country its first gold since it joined competition in 1948. USA TODAY Sports

RIO DE JANEIRO — To a soundtrack of “Si se puede!” from the stands, Monica Puig won Puerto Rico’s first gold medal in any sport in Olympic history, upsetting Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 in the women’s tennis singles final Saturday at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Yes, she can. And, yes, she did.

Puig is also the first woman representing Puerto Rico to earn a medal of any color at an Olympics, and when she finished a tense closing game — saving six break points and converting her fourth match point — she dropped her racket and went over to collect a flag she paraded across the court.

Gigi Fernandez, who is Puerto Rican, won two Olympic women’s doubles gold medals in tennis, but did so while representing the United States.

The 22-year-old Puig was born in Puerto Rico. She now lives in Florida.

As a teenager at the 2013 French Open, Puig became the first woman representing Puerto Rico to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament in the Open era, which began in 1968. A month later, she followed that up by getting to the fourth round at Wimbledon, portending great things, but she hasn’t been that far again at any major.

Categories: 2016 Olympics