Rio Olympic Tennis: Monica Puig takes Gold, Kerber takes Silver, and Kvitova takes Bronze

Women’s Olympic Tennis Wrap-Up

Monica Puig shocked the world in Rio.  She won 3 matches in which she was a clear underdog.  Puig dominated 2016 Roland Garros champion Garbine Muguruza and won three set tilts versus two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber.  Puig won with a lot of tenacity as well as composure. Losing the second set of both the semifinal and championship matches did not leave Puig feeling as though the match was getting away from her.  Rather she steadied herself and took control of the 3rd set in each of the final two matches.

Monica’s Breakthrough

Monica Puig won the first gold medal for Puerto Rico ever.  Her position on tour will change after taking a gold medal and beating 3 former grand slam champions in the process of winning in Rio.  I don’t think she will undergo the adjustment that Kerber struggled with after taking the Australian Open and the adjustment Garbine Muguruza seems to still be struggling with after taking the Roland Garros title.  Rather, I think Puig will have the assurance of always being a gold medalist and being a hero in her homeland. That assurance should help her to play well on tour so long as she does not feel a drop in motivation.  I am still a bit stunned, but this is a good development for tennis.  Puig, Kerber, and Muguruza have won 3 of the 4 biggest events in 2016.  Serena Williams won Wimbledon and has been runner-up at two other majors.  This is a good confluence of established stars versus emerging stars.

Kerber’s Magical 2016

“I didn’t lose gold; I won silver

Angelique Kerber has claimed an Australian Open title, Wimbledon runner-up, and Olympic silver medal in 2016.  I am sure a gold medal and Wimbledon title would have been preferable to Kerber, but she was competitive in the two championship matches she lost.  That is a good sign.  Her speed and hustle give her a chance.  Kerber should be a factor in women’s tennis for the next 5+ years.  From time to time things might line up and she will take home the biggest trophy, but consistently reaching championship matches is something few players other than Serena Williams have done in recent years.

Kvitova’s Resume Improves

Petra Kvitova won Wimbledon 2011 and 2014.  She won the WTA Tour Final in 2011.  She has been part of 4 winning Federation Cup Teams for the Czech Republic.  She won Madrid 2015 by crushing Serena Williams.  Yet, her results are scattered.  She has added a bronze medal.  Petra Kvitova should win more often than she has, but her health seems to be a large hurdle.  A player with health issues posting the results she has is impressive.  This medal adds to Kvitova’s hall of fame credentials.  She might be in already, but if she continues to post scattered results over the next 3-6 years she will likely be a lock for the hall of fame.

 

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