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Puig eyes first-ever Olympic gold for Puerto Rico, advances to women's singles final

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Rio de Janeiro, Aug 13 (IANS) Puerto Rico's Monica Puig is one win away from a first-ever Olympic gold medal for the Caribbean island after stunning two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 here at the ongoing Rio Games in the women's tennis singles semifinals.

Victory against the Czech here on Friday was the 34th-ranked Puig's second upset after Spain's Garbiñe Muguruza this week of a Grand Slam champion, reports Efe.

Spanish Garbiñe, winner of the 2016 French Open lost to Pig 6-1, 6-1 in the third round.

The 22-year-old unseeded Puig also upset 14th-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of this hard-court event, here at the Olympic Tennis Centre.

Friday's semifinal featured numerous momentum swings, with Puig rallying from a 3-0 deficit to take the first set in 36 minutes but then dropping her first set of the tournament 1-6 as the world No. 14 Czech began to find the range on her powerful flat ground strokes.

In the final set, it was the less experienced and less accomplished Puig who rose to the occasion to break Kvitova's serve three times and take the match in just under two hours.

Puig will next take on either German world No. 2 Angelique Kerber or big-hitting American world No. 9 Madison Keys in the gold-medal match.

The San Juan native could become Puerto Rico's first-ever gold medalist and is already assured of being just the third athlete from the U.S. commonwealth to win a silver medal, a feat accomplished by boxer Luis Ortiz at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and wrestler Jaime Espinal at the 2012 London Games.

Regardless of the outcome of Saturday's women's singles final, Puig will also become the first female Puerto Rican athlete to win an Olympic medal.

--IANS

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