No.3 seed Garbiñe Muguruza was sent crashing out of the Olympic tennis event in Rio after a decisive 6-1, 6-1 defeat at the hands of Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig.
22-year-old Puig is competing in her first ever Olympic Games.
She notched her first ever victory over a Top 5 player against the No.4-ranked Muguruza to claim the biggest win of her career.
“I think it is. I consider it the biggest win of my career because it’s at the Olympics.
“This happens once every four years,” Puig said, grinning in the mixed zone after the match.
“Right now, I’m in the clouds. I can’t even believe it because truly it was incredible.”
Muguruza’s usually aggressive game was lacking its bite, and she couldn’t seem to find her rhythm, getting caught a step or two late to the ball time and time again.
The Spaniard struck almost twice as many unforced errors as Puig, 29 to 15.
Her powerful serve fired off seven double faults, and she was broken six times throughout the hour-long encounter.
Puig took advantage of Muguruza’s lapse and came out of the gate on fire.
She broke in the fourth game to quickly build up a 4-1 lead, which she backed up by breaking again and snapping up the opening set.
Puig’s zinging forehand and dogged, line-to-line defense powered her through the next set as she broke Muguruza four more times to reach her first ever Olympic quarterfinals.
“I still have goose bumps,” Puig said of serving for the match and her emotional reaction afterward.
“You just go into shock; you are trying to keep it together the whole time because you know in that last game, serving at 4-1 especially to consolidate that break, you’re so close to winning.
“You start getting emotional, there’s no hiding it, you start feeling those butterflies, those nerves.
“So I think it’s all that coming out, you keep it bottled up. It’s like a Coca Cola bottle if you shake it, you shake it, you shake it, it’s going to explode.
“I just tried to not explode till the right moment and it worked.”
The win is a banner result for Puig, who started out the year ranked No.94.
Her newly-found consistency has seen her reach the quarterfinals or better at six events as well as climb all the way to a career-high No.33.
“I know what I want to achieve and I’m letting the world know that Monica Puig is here. It’s my time,” she said.
“I’ve always been there, but I’ve never been able to maintain the level. But I’m doing it now and I’m in such a good moment.
“I want the medal, and I’m going to do what it takes to reach this goal…
“I always seem to play my best when I play for my country.”
Puig is set to play against Germany’s Laura Siegemund in the next round for a spot in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, former World No.1 Venus Williams looked to have wrapped up her Olympic tennis event campaign with tough losses in singles and doubles.
But the four-time Olympic gold medalist has one more chance for glory in Rio, pairing with Rajeev Ram in the mixed doubles draw.
The pair will play the Netherlands’ Kiki Bertens and Jean-Julian Rojer in the first round.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands joins the draw alongside Jack Sock as the second US team.
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