Monica Puig Marchán (born 27 September 1993) is a Puerto Rican professional tennis player and Olympic gold medal winner.
She is also a Central American and Caribbean champion and Pan American silver medalist.
Puig has won one singles title on the WTA tour and six singles titles on the ITF circuit in her career. On 11 July 2016, she reached her best singles ranking of world number 33. On 23 July 2012, she peaked at world number 263 in the doubles rankings. In May 2014, Puig won her first WTA tour title at the 2014 Internationaux de Strasbourg.
At the 2016 Summer Olympics, Puig became the first athlete to win an Olympic gold medal while representing Puerto Rico and the ninth overall medalist for that delegation. During this event, she became the first Latin American player to win the women’s singles tournament. Defeating two top-5 opponents, she bested the second ranked player in the world, Angelique Kerber, in the final. Puig is the only unseeded female player to win gold since the reintroduction of tennis in 1988.
Monica Puig Marchán was born 27 September 1993 in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico to a Cuban American father, José Puig, and a Puerto Rican mother, Astrid Marchán. Puig stated her grandparents are Catalan. She has a brother named Ricardo “Ricky” Puig.
In 2007, she entered her first tournament at the Prince Cup, but withdrew from the qualifying draw.
In 2008, she started the season with a surprise run to the final of the Costa Rica Bowl (Grade 3) as a qualifier losing in straight sets to Eugenie Bouchard. She continued her good form, winning two out of three tournaments. Puig continued good results in small Grade 3 and 4 tournaments. In her first Grade 1 tournament in Lexington, she defeated Charlotte Calhoun before going out to Lauren Embree. She continued to participate in bigger tournaments, though not with as much success as she had in the smaller ones.
Puig had her breakthrough season in 2009; she started doing much better in the bigger tournaments. She reached her first Grade 1 final in Casablanca, losing to Mai Grage of Denmark. She continued playing consistently, highlights of the latter months of the year included a semifinal appearance at a Grade B1 tournament in Tulsa, losing to Bouchard in three sets. In her next tournament, she won the doubles title.
In 2010, she continued her successes at a higher level. Puig started the year reaching the final of the 32nd International Casablanca Junior Cup (Grade A), falling easily to Sachie Ishizu of Japan. She then reached another final a week later at the Coffee Bowl (Grade 1) losing to An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium in straights. Puig followed that up with a semifinal appearance at a Grade 1 tournament in Barranquilla. Consistent results followed, before a huge Grade A title at the 27th Copa Gerdau, defeating Jessica Pegula in the final. After a semifinal appearance at another Grade A calibre tournament, she fell in the quarterfinals of the French Open. After that, she failed to advance past the quarterfinals of any of her tournaments until the 2010 US Open – Girls’ Singles, where she lost to Yulia Putintseva. Puig finished the season with a flourish, falling in the quarters of Osaka (Grade A), the final of Mérida (Grade 1) and the semis of Key Biscayne (Grade A), both to Lauren Davis.
In July, Puig won the gold medal in the women’s tennis singles event at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games. Puig was the second seed in the singles event at the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore, but lost in the first round to Zheng Saisai of China in straight sets.
2011: Junior Slam final in Melbourne
In January, Puig won the Loy Yang Traralgon International defeating Yulia Putintseva of Russia. Puig was also in the juniors event of the Australian Open. She qualified for the final but lost to Belgian An-Sophie Mestach. On February 20, 2011 Puig won the singles title in Surprise, Arizona, (ITF) defeating Slovak Lenka Wienerová, 6–4, 6–0.
Puig received a wildcard into the qualifying draw of the 2011 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. She defeated Anne Keothavong in the first round but was then knocked out by Sorana Cîrstea in three sets.
In the juniors event of the French Open, she also qualified for the final but lost to Tunisian Ons Jabeur.
Puig won the silver medal at the 2011 Pan American Games after defeating Christina McHale of the United States to advance to the gold medal round. She lost to Irina Falconi of the United States in the final.
2012: Reaching Top 200
In January 2012, Puig entered the WTA Tour’s ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, ranked 213 in the world. She won the first and second round of qualifying matches, but lost in the last round to the number 145 in the world, Karolína Plíšková. On 16 January Puig entered the 2012 Australian Open qualifying draw ranked 209. She lost in the second round to Kirsten Flipkens. On 23 January Puig entered the $25,000 Andrézieux-Bouthéon ITF tournament as a qualifier. She won two qualifying matches and was able to play in the main draw, but lost in the first round to Magda Linette of Poland.
In the following month, Puig played on the qualifying draw of two WTA Tour events, Bogotá and Monterrey, without being able to get past the first round of the main draw. She received a wild card to play in the 2012 Indian Wells Masters qualifying draw, but, in the second round, lost to world number 66 Eleni Daniilidou. Puig’s first 2012 breakthrough came when she reached the final of the Poza Rica $25,000 ITF tournament unseeded. The last two matches prior to the final included wins against tournament seeds numbers four and one, although she lost to second seed Yaroslava Shvedova.
The second breakthrough of 2012 occurred when Puig won the first ITF $50,000 tournament of her career at Joué-lès-Tours, France. She opened the first round by eliminating the number one seed and world ranked 87, Alexandra Panova. In the semifinals, Puig defeated An-Sophie Mestach, the same opponent to whom she lost in the 2011 Australian Open junior final.
2013: Entering Top 100
Puig reached her first WTA main draw quarterfinal at the 2013 Portugal Open, competing as a lucky loser. She defeated number 8 seed and former top-15 player Julia Görges in round one before beating former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in the second round. She lost in the quarterfinals to number 4 seed Carla Suárez Navarro of Spain. At the 2013 French Open, Puig had the most remarkable win of her career to date when she defeated world number 11, Nadia Petrova, in three sets. At the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, she beat world number 5 and fifth seed Sara Errani in the first round, then defeated Silvia Soler Espinosa in three sets in the second round and Eva Birnerová in three sets in round three before losing to Sloane Stephens in the fourth round. She was ranked 56th at the end of the year.
2014: First WTA title, high ranking of No. 41
In May, she played and won her first WTA final in Strasbourg, defeating Sílvia Soler Espinosa. This success took her to her highest WTA ranking 41st.
In October 2014, Puig won first place at the WTA Rising Stars Invitational in Singapore. Puig defeated Zheng Saisai in two sets. At the end of the year, she was world no. 59.
In this same year, she also won the gold medal at Central American games in VeraCruz, Mexico representing Puerto Rico.
2015: Lesser results, still in top 100
Puig’s best performances in 2015 was the semifinals in Pattaya. She also made the quarterfinals in Acapulco, after defeating Sara Errani, world no. 12 at the moment. Another important victory in Guangzhou against world no. 17 Andrea Petkovic. Puig ended the season ranked world no. 92.
2016: Olympic Breakthrough and Gold Medal
Puig started her 2016 season strongly in Sydney. As a qualifier she went on to defeat Magdaléna Rybáriková, Anna Karolína Schmiedlová, Samantha Stosur, and Belinda Bencic before losing in her second WTA final to Svetlana Kuznetsova.
At the Australian Open, she reached the third round, defeating Magda Linette and Kristýna Plíšková before losing to the fourth seed Agnieszka Radwańska.
At the French Open, she repeated her Australian Open success to reach the third round, defeating Olga Govortsova and Julia Görges, before losing to the fifteenth seed Madison Keys.
In the 2016 Aegon International Eastbourne, Puig progressed as far as to the semi-finals after beating Kristina Mladenovic. Weeks later, she progressed on Wimbledon and faced home player Johanna Konta in the first round, in which Puig lost to Konta in two sets.
At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Puig won the women’s singles gold medal by defeating Polona Hercog, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Garbiñe Muguruza, Laura Siegemund, Petra Kvitová, and finally Angelique Kerber. Puig became the second unseeded player to win a medal at the Olympics after Alicia Molik won bronze in Athens and the first athlete representing Puerto Rico to win a gold medal in any sport.  And in Puerto Rico’s Olympic history, Puig is the ninth sportsperson and the first sportswoman to win an Olympic medal. Puig is the first Latin American representative to win the gold medal in singles and the second to win a medal after Gabriela Sabatini won silver at the 1988 Summer Olympics. On November 2016, Puig was presented the award for Best Female Athlete in Rio 2016 presented by the Association of National Olympic Committees(ANOC).
She later entered the US Open, Puig wasn’t originally seeded, but after a sudden withdrawal of Sloane Stephens before the tournament began who was seeded, Puig became the 32nd seed and was moved up to the other side of the draw for the first time in her career. She faced China’s Saisai Zheng in the first round, but lost in two sets. She also played doubles with Colombia’s Mariana Duque-Mariño but lost to United States’ Nicole Gibbs & Japan’s Nao Hibino.
(W) Won tournament; reached (F) final, (SF) semifinal, (QF) quarterfinal; (R#) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; competed at a (RR) round-robin stage; reached a (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; played in a (Z#) Davis/Fed Cup Zonal Group (with number indication) or (PO) play-off; won a (G) gold, (F-S) silver or (SF-B) bronze Olympic medal; a (NMS) downgraded Masters Series/1000 tournament; or (NH) tournament not held.
|Grand Slam Tournaments|
|A||Q2||Q1||2R||2R||3R||0 / 3||4–3||57%|
|A||Q3||3R||1R||1R||3R||0 / 4||4–4||50%|
|Wimbledon||Absent||4R||1R||1R||1R||0 / 4||3–4|
|A||Q1||1R||2R||1R||1R||0 / 4||1–4||20%|
|Win–Loss||0–0||0–0||5–3||2–4||1–4||4–4||0 / 15||12–15|
|WTA Tour Championships||Absent||0 / 0||0–0|
|WTA Premier Mandatory Tournaments|
Indian Wells Masters
|Q2||Q2||1R||1R||2R||3R||0 / 4||3–4||43%|
|Miami Open||Absent||1R||2R||1R||2R||0 / 4||2–4|
|Absent||Q1||1R||1R||0 / 2||0–2||0%|
|China Open||Absent||1R||Q2||2R||0 / 2||1–2|
|WTA Premier 5 Tournaments|
Dubai Tennis Championships
|A||Not Premier 5||1R||NP5||0 / 1||0–1||0%|
|Qatar Open||NP5||Absent||NP5||A||0 / 0||0–0|
|Absent||2R||1R||2R||0 / 3||2–3||40%|
|Canadian Open||Absent||1R||2R||1R||0 / 3||1–3|
|Absent||1R||Q2||Q1||A||0 / 1||0–1||0%|
|Pan Pacific Open||Absent||1R||Not Premier 5||0 / 1||0–1|
|Not Held||1R||Q1||0 / 1||0–1|
|Grand Slam tournaments|
|24-mag-14||France, Internationaux de Strasbourg, Strasbourg||Spain, Sílvia Soler Espinosa|
|Brasil, Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro||Germany, Angelique Kerber|
6-4, 4-6, 6-1
Central American and Caribbean Games
2010, Mayagüez, Singles, gold
2014, Veracruz, Singles, gold
2010, Mayagüez, Mixed doubles, bronze
Pan American Games
2011, Guadalajara, Singles, silver
2015, Toronto, Singles, bronze
2016, Rio de Janeiro, Singles, gold