Monica Puig advances to Eastbourne semi-final as she looks forward to the rest of the grass court season

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It’s been a terrific Eastbourne tournament so far from Puig, as she progressed to the semi-finals today after beating Kristina Mladenovic, Michael Stokoe reports for Vavel.

Monica Puig continued her impressive run in the AEGON International at Eastbourne today as she progressed to the semi-finals after defeating Kristina Mladenovic 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.

At the start of the week the Puerto Rican entered the tournament as a qualifier, but now she is on the verge of reaching her first Eastbourne final.

It was another lengthy three set thriller on centre court today; Mladenovic battled well against the in-from Puig; but ultimately the 22-year-old had the better of the game.

The Puerto Rican’s preparation for Wimbledon is going well and with the Olympics coming up for Puig she has a lot to look forward to.

Mentally and physical Puig is ready for Wimbledon and the Olympics

The pressure is well and truly off for Puig, as no-one really has expected to perform the way she is doing; and speaking about her surprise run this week at Wimbledon, Puig said: “I always try to stay as positive as possible, but it definitely does feel good to get this win under my belt and move into the semis.”

The draw for Wimbledon is upcoming, and Puig will be someone, not many people will want to face, but for Puig she will look out for the draw, but won’t pay too much attention to it; until Wimbledon approaches.

“I like to look at the draw but then again I’m not really putting too much of an emphasis on it this year,” said the 22-year-old.

Qualifying for the Olympics is now in the bag for Puig; so the Puerto Rican can look forward to the rest of the grass court season with confidence.

“I mean, I’m just trying to enjoy every moment on the court, obviously there is a long way to go and I have a lot more goals I want to accomplish, so those are my new target points and focus,” said Puig.

Puig, who spent nearly three hours in defeating French Open doubles champion Mladenovic, said that mental strength is an important part of her regime.

“The sports psychology part, my team takes care of. My coach and everybody on my team tries to get me mentally prepared for every single type of situation that I’m going to encounter on the court.

“The strength comes from within, but I think it just gets stronger due to the experience I have had in the past. I’ve had had several matches where I have been the softer one and I have caved to the pressure.

“But now I have some of these matches under my belt (from difficult situations) and I have been able to pull it out.”

Puig also made it to the Sydney final in January from a qualifying start, facing two-time grand slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova in the title match.

Puig survived nine double-faults and ten aces from her opponent, breaking six times but forced to save 18 of the 23 break points she faced in the see-saw battle on the grass.

“We’re both putting so much pressure on each other’s serves. It was basically about me staying focused and doing what I had to do, which is be as aggressive as I could and just keep my head together.

“There were more double faults – felt like a million to me – but the most important thing is I was able to put those behind me and just keep focusing on what I had to do next, which is very important.

“I always try to stay as positive as possible, but it definitely does feel good to get this win under my belt and move into the semis.”

With weather threatening to disrupt the programme, two remaining quarter-finals looked in danger of starting.

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