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Monica Puig

tennis player

Alias: Monica Puig Marchan
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Bio Monica Puig Marchan (born September 27, 1993) is a Puerto Rican professional tennis player and the reigning Olympic champion. She is also a Central American and Caribbean champion and Pan American silver medalist. She is the first Puerto Rican to win an Olympic gold medal representing Puerto Rico.

Having turned professional in 2010, Puig has won two WTA singles titles and six ITF singles titles. On September 26, 2016, she reached her career-high singles ranking of world No. 27. On May 25, 2015, she peaked at No. 210 in the doubles rankings.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Puig won the gold medal and the ninth overall medalist for that delegation. With the feat, she also became the first Latin American champion in the women's singles discipline, and is the only unseeded female player to win the gold medal since the reintroduction of tennis in 1988.

In 2007, she entered her first tournament at the Prince Cup, but withdrew from the qualifying draw.

In 2008, she started the season with a surprise run to the final of the Costa Rica Bowl (grade 3) as a qualifier losing in straight sets to Eugenie Bouchard. She continued her good form, winning two out of three tournaments. Puig continued good results in small grade-3 and-4 tournaments. In her first grade-1 tournament in Lexington, she defeated Charlotte Calhoun before going out to Lauren Embree. She continued to participate in bigger tournaments, though not with as much success as she had in the smaller ones.

Puig had her breakthrough season in 2009; she started doing much better in the bigger tournaments. She reached her first grade-1 final in Casablanca, losing to Mai Grage of Denmark. She continued playing consistently, highlights of the latter months of the year included a semifinal appearance at a grade-B1 tournament in Tulsa, losing to Bouchard in three sets. In her next tournament, she won the doubles title.

In 2010, she continued her successes at a higher level. Puig started the year reaching the final of the 32nd International Casablanca Junior Cup (grade A), falling easily to Sachie Ishizu of Japan. She then reached another final a week later at the Coffee Bowl (grade 1) losing to An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium in straights. Puig followed that up with a semifinal appearance at a grade-1 tournament in Barranquilla. Consistent results followed, before a huge grade-A title at the 27th Copa Gerdau, defeating Jessica Pegula in the final. After a semifinal appearance at another grade-A calibre tournament, she fell in the quarterfinals of the French Open. After that, she failed to advance past the quarterfinals of any of her tournaments until the US Open, where she lost to Yulia Putintseva. Puig finished the season with a flourish, falling in the quarterfinals of Osaka (grade A), the final of Mérida (grade 1) and the semis of Key Biscayne (grade A), both to Lauren Davis.

In July, Puig won the gold medal in women's singles at the Central American and Caribbean Games. At the Youth Olympics in Singapore, she was the second seed in the singles event but lost in the first round to Zheng Saisai of China in straight sets.

In 2011, in January, Puig won the Loy Yang Traralgon International defeating Yulia Putintseva of Russia. Puig was also in the juniors event of the Australian Open. She qualified for the final but lost to Belgian An-Sophie Mestach. On February 20, Puig won the singles title in Surprise, Arizona defeating Slovak Lenka Wienerová in straight sets.

Puig received a wild card into the qualifying draw of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. She defeated Anne Keothavong in the first round but was then knocked out by Sorana Cîrstea in three sets.

In the juniors event of the French Open, she also qualified for the final but lost to Tunisian Ons Jabeur.

Puig won the silver medal at the Pan American Games after defeating Christina McHale of the United States to advance to the gold medal round. She lost to Irina Falconi of the United States in the final.

In January 2012, Puig entered the WTA Tour's ASB Classic in Auckland, ranked 213 in the world. She won the first and second round of qualifying matches, but lost in the last round to the No. 145 in the world, Karolína Plíšková. On January 16, Puig entered the Australian Open qualifying draw ranked 209. She lost in the second round to Kirsten Flipkens. At the $25,000 Andrézieux-Bouthéon tournament, she won two qualifying matches but lost in the first round to Magda Linette of Poland.

In the following month, Puig played on the qualifying draw of two WTA Tour events, Bogotá and Monterrey, without being able to get past the first round of the main draw. She received a wild card to play in the Indian Wells Masters qualifying draw, but, in the second round, lost to world No. 66, Eleni Daniilidou. Her breakthrough came when she reached the final of the Poza Rica $25,000 tournament unseeded. The last two matches prior to the final included wins against tournament seeds No. 4 and 1, although she lost to second seed Yaroslava Shvedova.

The second breakthrough of 2012 occurred when she won the first $50,000 tournament of her career at Joué-lès-Tours, France. Puig opened the first round by eliminating the top-seed and world ranked 87, Alexandra Panova. In the semifinals, she defeated An-Sophie Mestach, the same opponent to whom she lost in the 2011 Australian Open junior final.

In 2013, Puig reached her first WTA main-draw quarterfinal at the Portugal Open, competing as a lucky loser. She defeated eighth seed and former top-15 player Julia Görges in round one before beating former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in the second round. She lost in the quarterfinals to fourth seed Carla Suárez Navarro of Spain. At the French Open, Puig had the most remarkable win of her career to date when she defeated world No. 11, Nadia Petrova, in three sets. At Wimbledon, she beat world No. 5 Sara Errani in the first round, then defeated Silvia Soler Espinosa in three sets in the second round, and Eva Birnerová in three sets in round three before losing to Sloane Stephens in the fourth round. She was ranked world No. 56 at the end of the year.

In 2014, in May, she played and won her first WTA final in Strasbourg, defeating Sílvia Soler Espinosa. This success took her to her highest WTA ranking 41st.

In October 2014, Puig won first place at the WTA Rising Stars Invitational in Singapore. Puig defeated Zheng Saisai in two sets. At the end of the year, she was world No. 59.

In this same year, she also won the gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico representing Puerto Rico.

Puig's best performances in 2015 was the semifinals in Pattaya. She also made the quarterfinals in Acapulco, after defeating Sara Errani, world No. 12 at the moment. Another important victory in Guangzhou against world No. 17 Andrea Petkovic. Puig ended the season ranked No. 92.

In 2016, Puig started the season strongly in Sydney. As a qualifier, she went on to defeat Magdaléna Rybáriková, Anna Karolína Schmiedlová, Samantha Stosur, and Belinda Bencic before losing in her second WTA final to Svetlana Kuznetsova.

At the Australian Open, she reached the third round, defeating Magda Linette and Kristýna Plíšková before losing to the fourth seed Agnieszka Radwańska. At the French Open, she repeated her Australian Open success to reach the third round, defeating Olga Govortsova and Julia Görges, before losing to the 15th seed Madison Keys. In the Aegon International, Puig progressed as far as to the semifinals after beating Kristina Mladenovic. Weeks later, she progressed on Wimbledon and faced home player Johanna Konta in the first round, in which Puig lost to Konta in two sets.

At the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Puig won the women's singles gold medal by defeating Polona Hercog, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Garbiñe Muguruza, Laura Siegemund, Petra Kvitová, and finally Angelique Kerber. Puig became the second unseeded player to win a medal at the Olympics after Alicia Molik had won bronze in Athens and the first athlete representing Puerto Rico to win a gold medal in any sport. In Puerto Rico's Olympic history, Puig is the ninth sportsperson and the first sportswoman to win an Olympic medal. She is the first Latin American representative to win the gold medal in singles and the second to win a medal after Gabriela Sabatini won silver at the 1988 Summer Olympics. In November, Puig was presented the award for Best Female Athlete in Rio 2016 presented by the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC).

She was not originally seeded at the US Open, but after a withdrawal of seeded Sloane Stephens, Puig became the 32nd seed. She lost in the first round to Zheng Saisai, and also in doubles with Mariana Duque-Mariño to Nicole Gibbs and Nao Hibino.

Concluding her 2016 season with a career best year-end ranking of 32, Puig was unable to replicate her success throughout 2017 and fell out of the top 50 in June. By losing in three sets to Mirjana Lučić-Baroni in the first round of the US Open, Puig concluded her 2017 season without advancing past the second round of any Grand Slam or Premier Mandatory tournament. However, she did end the season on a high note by reaching her fourth career WTA final at BGL Luxembourg Open.

After convincingly dispatching Samantha Stosur in the first round of the Miami Open, Puig came back from a first-set deficit to upset the second seed Caroline Wozniacki in three sets for the fourth top-10 win of her career and a spot in the third round of the Premier Mandatory tournament. In May, Puig announced that she would withdraw from both the Internationaux de Strasbourg and French Open tournaments because of a hip injury.
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