The history of the Olympic Games is full of dramatic, emotional and beautiful moments that took place in finals. Every week, relive the most incredible finals you can remember on video. This week, we have the Rio 2016 women’s tennis final.
Tennis Olympic Women’s Individuals Tournament
Olympic Tennis Centre, Rio, 13 August 2016
Mónica Puig vs Angelique Kerber
There were many seeded tennis players taking part at Rio 2016: Serena and Venus Williams, Angelique Kerber, Garbiñe Muguruza, Agnieszka Radwanska... Of course there were. It was the Olympics.
The name to be beat was – obviously – Serena Williams. She had won Olympic gold medals in both the singles and doubles events at London 2012, adding to the doubles golds she won at Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008. Williams was also seeded first heading into the 2016 Games.
Who would have expected what happened in Rio? The player who triumphed was not among the favourites.
The key moment
Little by little Mónica Puig started to look like a contender. Particularly after beating Garbiñe Muguruza (the fourth seed and reigning Roland Garros champion) and then then eventual bronze medal winner Petra Kvitova in the semi-finals. In doing so she had already made Olympic history and her country, Puerto Rico, proud. In fact she was the first woman from Puerto Rico to reach an Olympic final... in any sport.
And there she was, in the gold medal match at the Olympic Games, reaching for glory.
But (and there was a big but) standing in front of her stood one person who was the embodiment of a winner: Angelique Kerber, a former Australian Open champion and the second seed at Rio 2016. Kerber had become the new favourite following the unexpected victory of Elina Svitolina against Serena Williams in the second round.
However, right when it mattered, Puig played her best tennis - particularly shining in the final set. She finally won gold with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 victory. In the end, 2 hours and 9 minutes was the difference between being an underdog and becoming an Olympic champion.
Puig cried. She wore the 'boricua' flag and carried history on her shoulders. She fought against the favourites, against the odds... and she just won, winning the first Olympic gold medal for Puerto Rico ever. The 22-year-old underdog won.
However, once the Games were over Puig had to face the pressure of being champion. As she said to the Olympic Channel: "I think after the Olympics I did put some pressure on myself to compete at that high level every single time and I just needed to learn how to adjust and how to feel my way around again."
And so she did. Not even the pressure that followed has faded her gold.
Could Monica Puig overcome Germany’s Angelique Kerber, world No. 1, to win Puerto Rico’s first-ever Olympic gold?