History created… Puerto Rica wins first ever Gold Medal in Olympics
Hardly anybody knew Monica Puig before the start of the Tennis event at the Rio Olympics, but the 22 year old made sure on 13th of August (IST) 2016 that her name goes down in the History books… that everybody remembers her name now. The Puerto Rican created history by becoming the first athlete (Men or Women) to win an Olympic gold for her country.
She beat Germany’s Angelique Kerber (perhaps the favorite to win) in a pulsating three set match 6-4 4-6 6-1 to win the women’s singles Gold Medal. The current world number 33, Puig never ever had even reached beyond the 4th round of any major, before this triumph. She holds a career record of 220-139 in singles and has won one WTA title so far. Her execution and precision on the D day was just spot on and Kerber who was aiming to win a medal for Germany in tennis since Steffi Graf did it in 1992, could not match up to her. Puig claimed the first set as Kerber suffered a shoulder injury. But the German roared back in a close second, onoonly for Puig to run away with the third. Puig is also the only unseeded player to win gold since the reintroduction of tennis in 1988. Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic beat USA’s Madison Keys in three sets 7-5 2-6 6-2 to win bronze.
When Juan Martin Del Porto and Britain’s Andy Murray stepped onto the tennis court, a high octane match was expected from them.. Neither of them disappointed and produced some of the best tennis for the delight of spectators. In a see-saw match, It was Andy Murray who came Triumphant after a grueling battle of 4 hours to clinch the Gold Medal. Murray became the first tennis player to win two Olympic singles title. The Brit won 7-5 4-6 6-2 7-5.
After losing a scintillating semifinal clash to Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal was visibly tired and fatigued when he took on Kei Nshikori in the Bronze Medal match. The Japanese took the opening set in no time. He was at one time leading 5-2 in the second set and was serving for the match; Nadal however, upped the ante by winning 4 games in row and eventually taking the second set in a tie breaker, forcing the match into decider. The third set meanwhile had a totally different story to tell. Nishikori held his nerves to seal the match in three sets to win an Olympic Medal for Japan in tennis since 1920. (in 96 years)
Mixed Doubles- USA Dominates
Veteran tennis player Venus Williams signed off the Rio Olympics on a high note after having not so good run at the mega event. Venus Williams and her mixed doubles partner Rajeev Ram gave a tough fight to their counterpart Jack Sock and Bethani Mattek-Sands in the Gold Medal match, but it was the latter duo who won the Yellow Metal.
After losing the Semifinals against the American pair of Rajeev Ram and Venus Williams, Indian combine Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna had to come all guns blazing in their Bronze medal encounter against the Czech pair of veteran Radek Stepanek and Hradecka. Mirza and Bopanna failed to do that and lost the match in straight sets 6-1 7-5 to the Czech Republic pair, finishing 4th.
Men’s doubles – Vamos Spain !
When Rafael Nadal began his quest for second Gold medal at Rio, he still was not fully recovered. Despite of that he put his best foot forward and won the men’s doubles Gold. Partnering Marc Lopez, the Spanish pair beat the Romanian pair of Mergea and Tecau in a pulsating three sets 6-2 3-6 6-4. The Bronze medal match was won by American duo Sock and Johanson. They defeated Canadian Pair of Pospisal and Daniel Nestor.
Women’s doubles — Russia is the best
Russian pair of Ekaerina Makarova and Elena Vesnina held their heads high as they won the Gold medal in the women doubles. Both known for their high quality game have previously captured 2013 French Open and 2014 US open together. They out classed Switzerland’s pair of Martina Hingis (who was making her Olympics appearance after 20 years) and Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets to make sure that Russian National anthem was sung for the 7th time till now at Rio. The fate of the Bronze medal was decided in an all Czech Encounter. Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova beat their compatriots Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1 to complete the podium.
The Tennis event at the 2016 Rio Olympics, gave some of the most bizarre and unexpected results…All the A list players competed in the event (In all categories). It was supposed to be a usual affair for Williams’ sisters who were undefeated at the Quadrennial event. But the hard court of Rio had other plans for them. They were outclassed by the combo of Czech Republic pair of Lucy Safarova and Strycova. In the singles too, it was soon curtains for them. Other top ranked players too faltered in the early stages.
India’s Overall Show
India drew blank in tennis. The team lost both their Men’s Doubles and women’s doubles matches in the opening round. While, the Pair of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna lost to polish pair of Matkowski and Kewitt, Sania Mirza and her partner Prarthana Thambore were shown the door by Chinese pair of Zhang and Peng in a three set thriller.
TRIVIA -Unlike previous editions of the Olympic event, the 2016 Olympic tournament does not offer ranking points for the players.
Tennis was reintroduced in Olympics in 1988 and since then has not been excluded.
Tennis Medal Standings
USA – 1 Gold Medal (Mixed Doubles), 1 Silver Medal (Mixed Doubles) and 1 Bronze Medal (Men’s Doubles)
Spain- 1 Gold (Men’s Doubles)
Puerto Rico – 1 Gold Medal (Women Singles)
Russia- 1 Gold Medal(Women’s Doubles)
Germany – 1 Silver Medal (Women Singles)
Romania- 1 Silver Medal( Men’s doubles)
Switzerland-1Silver (Women doubles)
Japan- 1 Bronze Medal(Men’s Singles)
Czech Republic – 3 bronze Medals (Women Singles, Mixed Doubles and Women’s doubles)
India – None