Puig wins first gold for Puerto Rico, Murray set for historic match

Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro won a semifinal thriller against Spain's Rafa Nadal, outgunning the Spaniard 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(5) in a nervy final set tie-breaker to advance to the singles final. Del Potro will face Britain's defending champion Andy Murray in the final on Sunday.

Monica Puig's effort was Puerto Rico's first ever Olympic gold medal, and its ninth medal in history.   -  Getty Images

AndyMurray - cropped

Andy Murray guaranteed himself a medal at Rio 2016 with a comfortable 6-1, 6-4 victory over Kei Nishikori.

Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina celebrates after winning his semifinal match against Rafael Nadal of Spain.   -  Reuters

Monica Puig clinched the women’s singles gold medal for Puerto Rico, defeating Germany’s Angelique Kerber 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. With the victory, the U.S. territory won its first ever Olympic gold medal, and its ninth medal in history.

Twenty-two-year-old Puig, ranked No. 34 in the world, went into the match as the underdog against Kerber, this year’s Australian Open champion.

To reach the final, Puig had already defeated two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the semifinal along the way.

Puig put on an impressive performance on Rio’s centre court, amid cheers of “Si, se puede” (“Yes, you can”) from fans waving Puerto Rican flags. She was able to hit ground stroke winners from all over the court, often painting the lines, and leaving Kerber, the world’s No. 2 female player, struggling to effectively deploy her signature, punchy counter-attacking style of play.

Kvitova wins bronze in women’s tennis

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova won the Olympic bronze medal in women’s tennis.

Kvitova beat American Madison Keys 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 on Saturday, running away with the third set after dropping the last four games of the second.

Since winning her second Wimbledon title in 2014, the Czech hasn’t been beyond the quarterfinals at a major. In the first three of this year, she didn’t even make it past the third round, her ranking falling to 14th.

Keys is a career-best No. 9 in the world, but for the second straight match, the 21-year-old couldn’t capitalize on her opportunities against a more experienced opponent. She failed to convert two set points in the first.

Potro edges to final

Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro won a semifinal thriller against Spain's Rafa Nadal on Saturday, outgunning the Spaniard 5-7 6-4 7-6(5) in a nervy final set tie-breaker to advance to the Olympic singles final.

Del Potro will face Britain's defending Olympic champion Andy Murray in the final on Sunday.

Nadal, who won singles gold at the 2008 Beijing Games and has already captured gold in Rio in the men's doubles, will face off against Japan's Kei Nishikori for a bronze medal.

Andy Murray guaranteed himself a medal at Rio 2016 with a comfortable 6-1, 6-4 victory over Kei Nishikori.

The defending gold medallist surged out the blocks and, despite a run-in with the umpire Carlos Ramos, avoided a second-set slip-up like in his previous two matches against Fabio Fognini and Steven Johnson for a straight-sets triumph.

Murray took the first break point that came his way to move 3-1 up in the first set, and he quickly picked up a second to put himself in position to serve for the lead.

The World No. 2 did so to love when Nishikori sent a tame volley into the net, but he threatened to go off the rails in the second set.

A disagreement with the umpire at 2-2 amid a code violation showed tensions were running high, but Murray responded in fine fashion with a break to love.

Nishikori – ranked seventh in the world – made his opponent work for the win in the final game, but, after coming out on top in a sensational rally, Murray converted match point at the third attempt.

The gold or silver awaits the Brit, while Nishikori will contend the bronze medal match.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.