Monica Puig isn’t just a gold medalist, she’s now a rock star.
That’s what’ll happen to you when, as Puig did, you bring home the first gold medal for your flag in the history of the Olympic Games. “Pica Power” proved she wasn’t content with silver, delivering gold for Puerto Rico in a stellar 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 win over Aussie Open champ and world No. 2 Angie Kerber on Saturday.
With a difficult act to follow after Juan Martin del Potro’s epic and narrow victory over Rafael Nadal in the men’s semis, the women put on a show, which didn’t seem possible after Kerber had her lower back worked on after losing the first set.
Proving her maturity and toughness, Kerber rebounded and forced a decider, leading to the question of if Puig could find the finish line on such a big stage. Well, Puig answered with an exclamation point, blasting winners all over the court that even the best defender in women’s tennis couldn’t return.
Puig stormed out to a 5-0 lead as Kerber stood flummoxed over how to cool off an opponent who refused to miss. Kerber saved a trio of match points in a one-for-the-record-books game at 5-1, but Puig staved off break points in that back-and-forth game and eventually delivered on her fourth chance at clinching gold.
The 22 year old’s run was celebrated by Puerto Ricans everywhere…
— SandraRodríguezCotto (@SRCSandra) August 14, 2016
and also prominent celebrities:
— Yasiel Puig (@YasielPuig) August 13, 2016
— Marc Anthony (@MarcAnthony) August 14, 2016
FIRST GOLD FOR ????????
Everyone at Casa Miranda is bawling.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) August 13, 2016
Puig and Kerber (who had some great introspection and very kind words after the match) were joined on the podium by Petra Kvitova, who topped Madison Keys in the bronze medal match:
Monica Puig didn’t make any prize money for this week, but here’s guessing she’ll never have to pay for a meal or a drink in Puerto Rico ever again.