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THE tennis facility in Rio has turned out to be a graveyard for champions. From Novak Djokovic to Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal to Angelique Kerber, all lost agonisingly.

Journeymen like Juan Martin Del Potro from Argentina are heard about at the ATP Tour and Grand Slams regularly.

Yet, when they knock out Nadal, there is disbelief and horror as fans showed up to see their hero win.

The big upset climaxed with unknown Monica Puig from Puerto Rico pulling the rug from under the feet of Kerber as she posted a 6- 4, 4- 6, 6- 1 win.

Puig was an unknown name till yesterday. And her gold medal for Puerto Rico is huge. A Caribbean island where the US dollar is the currency, Puerto Rico is visited for its natural beauty.

It has casinos, white beaches, and popular for snorking, diving, surfing and sailing. Hell, where did Puig come from.

Though she lives in Miami, is ranked 34 on the WTA computer, she has never pulled off big wins. The final against Kerber was huge as the German has done very well in 2016, though her loss to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final was a hard one.

" I know what this medal means for my country. It's just amazing. I know my country really appreciates this and I wanted to give it to them. The way I did it tonight ( Friday), I wouldn't want it any other way," said 23- year- old Puig.

She had been advancing well in every match in the Rio draw. By her own admission, she was getting better and better. Her game was fast and powerful.

The crowd wanted to support the underdog as " yes you can" shouts rent the air.

" It was impossible to block the noise out in the stadium.

They really helped me believe ( on a win)," said Puig. Having been raised in Miami, Puig did not know her national anthem words well. " My dad had sent it to me on an email. If I had not been crying at the medal ceremony, I would have sung. The words would have come," she said.

The champion is now hoping an Olympic medal can help her get better on the WTA Tour. Players are bound to show more respect for what she has achieved.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Aug 15, 2016
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