French Open 2013: Mónica Puig one of 3 “Underrated Players with Best Upset Potential”

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Mónica Puig of Puerto Rico has already pulled off a big upset in the women’s bracket at the 2013 French Open and the tennis world is paying attention. John Rozum, writing for the popular sports website Bleacher Report, selected Puig as one of three “Underrated Players with Best Upset Potential” at the tournament. And in an interview with Luis Santiago Arce of El Nuevo Día, Mónica speaks about the boost in her confidence she received from the her upset victory against Nadia Petrova.

This is what Rozum had to say about Mónica’s potential:

Facing Nadia Petrova in Round 1, the Russian ranked No. 11 in the WTA entering the Roland Garros. Well, that didn’t intimidate Puig, who dropped the first set to come back and take the second and third en route to victory.

As the match progressed, Puig gradually gained control of the net and had fewer unforced errors. She also built the advantage on return scoring, which allowed for an immediate shift in momentum during the second and third sets.

With the established talent proven here to compete among better competition, Puig’s confidence makes her a dangerous foe as the French Open continues.

Puig spoke about her growing confidence with El Nuevo Día.

Finding a place among the best tennis players in the world has always been one of Mónica Puig’s goal, and she has taken a great step towards achieving that goal on one of the biggest tennis stages: Roland Garros.

In the midst of a brilliant positive streak, the very young Puerto Rican tennis player made a dramatic and successful debut as a professional player on a Grand Slam tournament, coming from behind in three emotional sets (3-6, 7-5, 6-4) to beat Russian player and 11th seed Nadia Petrova.

It became the earliest big surprise of the tournament.

Not bad for a player who is barely 19 and on the ascent, as she has reached the tournament ranked 85th in the world.

The triumph this last Sunday has boosted her confidence to the clouds.

“It is the best victory of my career thus far. I know I can play against these players. I am equally talented and at this level it is not a question of talent. It is a matter of how strongly you can fight and how you can stay strong mentally. I know I can beat these players,” an emotional Puig told El Nuevo Día on the telephone form her hotel room in Paris.

Her recent experiences on the court support her confidence. She has won eight of her last ten matches, including reaching the quarterfinals in the WTA tournament at Oerias, Portugal, after defeating Julia Goerges Francesca Schiavone, among others.

By beating Petrova she also became the first Puerto Rican player to win a Grand Slam match since Kristina Brandi did so in Wimbledon 2005.

“It is the first round of a Grand Slam and not many people can go beyond that. I am proud of this victory,” said Pica Puig, who will play against Madison Keys (USA) in the second round of the tournament.

“I am playing good tennis and ready for what comes . . . I am beyond the first round and tomorrow I will prepare for my next match. I am in a good place, happy and relaxed. I know what I have to do to get a win. I will give it my best, as I always do,” she added.

Puig, who was runner-up as a junior player at the 2011 French Open gave an excellent show of aplomb against the veteran Petrova, twice a finalist at Roland Garros and formerly ranked number 3 in the world.

Behind 4-2 in the third and decisive set, the Puerto Rican player turned the match around, winning four straight games to walk away with the victory after an erratic first set that included 17 unforced errors.

“I am proud of what I have accomplished, It was a hard-fought match, a hard match, but at the end I was ahead, which is all that maters,” Puig said.

Mónica, who won the Gold Medal at the Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe Mayagüez 2010 and silver at the Panamericanos Guadalajara 2011, added that the “key was to stay strong mentally and not give her any free points. When I had the opportunity to attack, I played my game; I defended when I had to and ran every ball down. I stayed focused, playing hard and finally being able to break her service for the victory. I did everything I could.”

For the original report go to http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1652920-french-open-2013-underrated-players-with-best-upset-potential

For Mónica’s interview with El Nuevo Día (in Spanish) go to http://www.elnuevodia.com/monicapuigdaunpaloenelabiertodefrancia-1519402.html

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