Mónica Puig played her second main draw match of the French Open today—a match that was described by both Sports Illustrated and ESPN before play started as one of the most “intriguing” and highly anticipated” of the day. Puig prevailed in two sets (6-4, 7-6) to move into the tournament’s third round.
This is what ESPN had to say before the match:
The most intriguing match is the all-teenage encounter between Keys and Monica Puig (fourth match, Court 6). That’s a match of contrasting styles and very good test for Keys.
Madison Keys vs. Monica Puig (fourth match, Court 6): Puig, 19, has been coming into her own this year, with solid performances against Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams, both in tough three-set losses. She was very emotional after upsetting Nadia Petrova in the first round in her Grand Slam debut. On the other side of the net is the 18-year-old Keys, who has become the most reliable early-round winner of the young Americans. She has the firepower that’s made everyone sit up and take notice. It’ll be Keys’ offense against Puig’s grinding defense and counterpunching in a 50-50 match. If Puig suffers from an emotional letdown after her big win, Keys is the favorite.
And this what Sports Illustrated had to say:
Monica Puig vs. Madison Keys Though largely unknown outside her native Puerto Rico — where even Ricky Martin is among her fans — the 86th-ranked Puig carries herself with self-confidence befitting a far more accomplished player. That self-belief was validated Monday when she upset the No. 11 seed Nadia Petrova, the biggest upset on the women’s side of tournament thus far. Puig, 19, gets a rare meeting in the second round against a player who is both younger and higher ranked: the 18-year-old and 56th ranked Keys. Since age-rule restrictions were lifted on her this year, Keys has soared up the rankings, climbing nearly 80 spots in five months. A win over Puig would all but guarantee her a spot as the youngest player in the top 50.
This is what Mónica had to say for herself after the match:
Puerto Rican tennis player Monica Puig, not content with having qualified for the third round of Roland Garros in her first Grand Slam in Paris at age 19, has vowed to “go for more.”
“I love to go to the major tennis tournaments, I always play my best tennis there. I am not going to let the pressure get to me,” said the young tennis player after moving into the third round at Roland Garros, where she will play against Spanish Carla Suárez ranked number 20 in the world.
Puig, who arrived in Paris as 86th in the WTA rankings, is dreaming big at the French Open, looking to bring to her matches the best of the effort she has put into the practice courts. “Trust your tennis,” she says, “and enjoy the good results when they come, knowing that it is a deserved reward for hard work.”
Today’s match, in which she defeated American Madison Keys 6-4, 7-6 (2), in one hour and 35 minutes, “was a tight game, a very long day for both of us” Puig said.
“I knew the match would go to the one who handled her nerves better,” said Puig, granddaughter of a Catalan, who is fluent in Spanish and English and just beginning to learn French.
“Obviously I want to win the tournament, if you’re not coming to win there’s no sense in coming”, she added half seriously, half in jest, not hiding the fact that after her victory today she was a radiantly happy girl.
A long-term aim is to emulate Serena Williams and dominate the circuit.
“My favorite is Serena, because she is showing great consistency. Something you see in men (…) and has been missing in the WTA. That’s what I want to do some day, be number one . . . We (the players) have to try to be like her,” says Puig.
Monica does not know Serena personally, but has crossed paths with her in the press area. “She goes about her business and I to mine,” she says shyly.
Puig, who travels to tournaments with her mother, Astrid, was enjoying her moment today. “I am happy and relaxed. Now I have to think about the next match. Well, today I’ll celebrate a little.”
Astrid is waiting for that celebration. Time will tell if her daughter can follow the paths of Beatriz “Gigi” Fernandez (San Juan, 1964), one of the best doubles players in history, who along with the Dominican Mary Joe Ferandez-both U.S. citizens-managed Olympic gold in pairs in Barcelona 92 and Atlanta 96.
For the original reports go to http://straightsets.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/28/what-to-watch-on-day-4-at-the-french-open/