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2ND LEAD Puerto Rico's Puig upsets German Kerber for Olympic tennis gold By Kristina Puck and Albert Otti, dpa

Europe
Von unserem dpa-Korrespondenten und Europe Online   auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Two tennis stars stared with stony faces while Monica Puig, the world‘s number 34 from Puerto Rico, cried with joy as she received her Olympic gold medal.

Puig beat Angelique Kerber 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 to earn the first Olympic tennis medal for her country, while Czech double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova took bronze.

The Puerto Rican denied Kerber the chance to become the first German Olympic tennis champion since Steffi Graf in 1988.

Puig impressed with her high-speed game, her relaxed manner and her fighting spirit that was stoked by the frenetic support from her Puerto Rican fans who have nicknamed her Pica Power.

Kerber, on the other hand, seemed not completely fit, was more restrained than usual, and was soon on the defensive.

After a rebreak by Puig, the German fell behind to lose the first set 6-4.

Before the second set, Kerber had to leave the court for a treatment break.

Kerber fought on. Although her 4-2 lead slipped away, she wrapped up the second set after breaking for 5-4.

However, Puig continued to pressure Kerber from the back line and let her opponent do the running, while making few mistakes of her own.

When Kerber‘s service was broken for 0-2, Puig‘s victory was within reach. Although Puig stumbled at the net when Kerber delivered a pasing shot, the Puerto Rican held for 3-0.

Kerber was broken again and though she fought hard in the final phase, and nearly managed to get one break back, Puig sealed her victory after 2 hours and 9 minutes and threw away her racket as she was overcome with emotion.

Another unlikely contender from Latin America advanced to the men‘s finals when Argentinian Juan Martin del Potro clinched the chance to win gold in Sunday‘s tennis final against 2012 champion Andy Murray.

In Saturday‘s semi-final, the world‘s 141st-ranked player delivered a gripping fight against Spanish star Rafael Nadal over 3 hours and 8 minutes that ended 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).

Del Potro, who had been out for wrist surgery for nearly a year until February, kissed the court before getting rowdy embraces from excited Argentinian fans. The triumph Saturday follows on that in the first round of the tournament when he ousted top-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia.

It took awhile to sink in what he had accomplished.

"I‘m just beginning to understand that I‘ve won a medal," the Argentinian said.

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray meanwhile secured his chance of back-to-back Olympic golds by beating Japan‘s Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-4 in his semi match earlier on Saturday.

Murray won gold in London in 2012 and would be the first tennis player ever to retain the Olympic title should he win on Sunday.

"Juan Martin has played great this event, getting a lot of confidence from his win against Novak," Murray said.

"He won against (Stan) Wawrinka at Wimbledon, so he‘s getting back to that level he can play at. After his wrist problem that‘s good for him," Murray said.

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