Beatriz Haddad Maia Defeats Sloane Stephens to Reach Mexican Open Quarterfinals

It’s a big take down byBeatriz Haddad Maia

The 22-year-old Brazilian tennis player, currently ranked No. 195 in the world, has defeated top seed Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals at the Mexican Open.

Beatriz Haddad Maia

It’s Haddad Maia’s first victory in seven career matches against players ranked in the top 10. 

The fourth-ranked Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, was making her first appearance in the event since winning the 2016 title.

“It was just a tough match, obviously she played well,” Stephens said. “A tough day. But I’m not too sad about it. I’m just going to go back and work some more, practice some more and get ready for Indian Wells.”

Haddad Maia will face Wang Yafan in the quarterfinals. Wang led Monica Puig4-1 when Puig retired because of an injury.

Monica Puig Stuns Caroline Wozniacki in Straight Sets to Reach the Wuhan Open Quarterfinals

Monica Puig has done it again…

The 25-year-old Puerto Rican tennis player stunned No.2 seed Caroline Wozniacki for the second time this year in the third round of the Wuhan Open, pounding her way into the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (10), 7-5 win in two hours and 24 minutes.

Monica Puig

Though Puig had trailed Wozniacki 2-3 in the overall head-to-head before today, she had scored a memorable upset in their most recent meeting, coming from a bagel set down to defeat the Australian Openchampion 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round of the Miami Open. Puig also came into today’s match in strong form, having won 13 of her past 16 matches – including a semifinal showing in New Haven and a quarterfinal berth in Québec City.

“I feel like we’ve played each other several times now,” Puig said. “I think Wozniacki is maybe one of the only players I’ve played so frequently against on the tour. We definitely have had our fair share of battles throughout the times that we’ve played.

“We both know each other’s game very well… I just had to try to stay focused and be really aggressive on those certain key points that I wasn’t today at some times, but I was happy I was able to get it out.”

With the win, Puig, who scored 37 winners during the match, has progressed to the first Premier 5 quarterfinal of her career.

“That’s the one thing I’m trying to work on with my team as much as possible: no matter what’s going on in the match, just continue like if nothing ever happened,” Puig said of seeing several match points come and go. “That’s not always easy, especially in moments where you want to really pull your hair out.

“Honestly, on the match points that I had, I thought she played really aggressive. She really took it to me. But whenever I lost those points, would go back and go, ‘There’s another point to play, still tennis left to be played. Don’t get caught up in that one point because that one point, either you’re going to let it dictate the rest of the match or you’re going to put it in the past and move forward.’”

In the quarterfinals, Puig – who sealed the fifth consecutive Centre Court match in which the lower-ranked player emerged the victor in Wuhan today – will face home favorite Wang Qiangin an all-unseeded battle.

“I don’t think I’ve played [Wang] in a tournament, but we have practiced against each other,” Puig said. “She’s a very nice girl. I have a lot of respect for her, especially with what she’s been doing in the past couple weeks. She won last week in Guangzhou.

“Just practicing with her, she hits a big ball. She can do whatever she wants with the ball if you give her the opportunity. She’s definitely going to be a tough test for me, especially her playing at home, she’s going to have the home-court advantage.

“I’m just looking forward to getting out there and continuing to play. I’m having a lot of fun right now. Tomorrow is my birthday, but I just want to enjoy it as much as possible.”

Carla Suarez Navarro Advances to Connecticut Open Final…

Carla Suarez Navarro is one win away from her next title…

The 29-year-old Spanish tennis player will compete for the Connecticut Open championship, despite completing just one full match this week and playing less than four sets.

Carla Suarez Navarro 

Navarro advanced Friday when Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig retired during their first set of their semifinal with an abdominal injury.

Suarez Navarro will face Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka, who upset fifth-seeded Julia Goerges 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the first semifinal.

“I feel like I didn’t play and I’m in the final,” Suarez Navarro said. “But, well, I cannot do nothing.”

Suarez Navarro won her first match against Barbora Strycova in straight sets. Her second-round opponent, Johanna Konta, withdrew with an illness. She was leading 6-3 in the quarterfinals Thursday when third-seeded Petra Kvitova bowed out with a shoulder injury.

Puig was leading 4-3 after exchanging service breaks with Suarez Navarro when she left the court holding her abdomen. Puig, the reigning Olympic champion, returned five minutes later, lost the next game, then approached the net in tears and announced she could not continue.

“It was a bit of an abdominal strain that I started feeling in my second service game,” Puig said. “I just gradually got worse from there. Obviously, with the US Open so close, it’s better not to make it worse, miss a tournament. I mean, I already know the consequences of getting injured and missing a Grand Slam. That’s not ideal.”

Puig  said she is hopeful of playing in New York against Stefanie Vogele of Switzerland on Tuesday.

Suarez Navarro will be seeking her third career WTA title.

Monica Puig Defeats World No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki at the Miami Open

She may have started the match slow, but Monica Puig didn’t let that stop her from dispatching one of the tournament’s top seeds at the WTA Miami Open

The 24-year-old Puerto Rican tennis player shrugged off an opening set bagel to rally past World No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki 0-6 6-4 6-4 in the second round on Friday.

Monica Puig

It was Wozniacki’s fastest exit at the Miami Open. She appeared to be headed to an easy victory after winning the first set in less than 30 minutes before it all went south.

Puig broke Wozniacki’s serve in the second set to take a 4-2 lead and closed it out to even the match, and Puig, ranked No. 82 in the world, then earned an early break in the decisive set to go ahead 2-0 and held on for the victory.

Puig, who won the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games, clinched the win with a blistering forehand winner on the second match point.

She now faces Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the third round.

Monica Puig to Help with Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico Following Hurricane Maria

Monica Puig is giving back to her community…

The 24-year-old Puerto Rican tennis player and Maria Sharapova will head to Puerto Rico next week to help with recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria.

Monica Puig

Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion, and Puig, who won Puerto Rico’s first Olympic gold medal in any sport at the 2016 Rio Games last summer, will go to the island Monday to distribute portable stoves, medicine and other supplies.

The agency that represents both players said Wednesday that Puig has raised more than $125,000 to help storm victims, while Sharapova is donating proceeds from her candy company for the rest of 2017.

The storm swept across Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, causing at least 48 deaths, according to the official tally. It caused widespread flooding and knocked out the entire power grid for the island of 3.4 million people.

Nazario Releases Video for “Soy Tuya,” Dedicated to Her Native Puerto Rico

Ednita Nazario is celebrating La Isla del Encanto

The 61-year-old Puerto Rican singer-songwriter has released her new single “Soy Tuya,” which she dedicated to Puerto Rico’s baseball team.

Ednita Nazario

Nazario premiered the song in her social media, along with an emotive lyric video.

The clip shows the beautiful island scenery and great achievements of different personalities like Zuleyka Rivera winning the Miss Universe crown, boxer Tito Trinidad, tennis player Monica Puig winning the gold medal in the 2016 Olympic Games and, of course, the Puerto Rico baseball team during the World Baseball Classic 2017.

“Seeing my country, Puerto Rico, united is the greatest joy that I can feel, she wrote, adding: “Thank you for giving the best of you and we will continue to do the same: give ourselves in body and soul to a productive and positive life for ours and for everyone.”

This year, Puerto Rico’s team made its presence felt after reaching the finals without losing a game and uniting an entire country. They also generated a polemic movement: all the players decided during the series to dye their hair blond, immediately going viral. From young people to singers like Victor Manuelle, Ken-Y and Wisin (with a wig) also joined the movement and went blond.

Puig Gives Puerto Rico Its First-Ever Olympic Gold at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

Monica Puig is Puerto Rico’s first-ever Golden Girl…

The 22-year-old Puerto Rican tennis player’s Cinderella run through the 2016 Rio Games has ended with a gold medal around her neck, and the first ever Olympic gold medal for her home country. She’s also the first female medalist representing La Isla del Encanto.

Monica Puig

Puig defeated world No. 2 Angelique Kerber of Germany in the women’s singles final.

Ranked 32 places below her opponent, Puig dominated the final set with an aggressive display of offensive tennis to round off a well-deserved 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 victory.

Puig dropped to her knees after securing the win as fans, who had chanted “si se puede” throughout the match, proudly waved Puerto Rican flags in the crowd.

Monica Puig

The upset win also meant Puig became the first unseeded player to become Olympic champion since women’s tennis was reintroduced at the 1988 Seoul Games.

Puerto Rico had won just eight Olympic medals — six bronze and two silver — prior to Puig’s success. Six of those were collected in boxing.

After besting two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the semifinals, Puig vowed to win gold for her compatriots back home. “It would mean the world,” she told reporters.

Earlier in the tournament, this year’s Cinderella also soundly defeated 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza.

“It’s just amazing. I know my country really appreciates this and I really wanted to give this victory to them. And the way I did this victory tonight, I wouldn’t want it any other way,” she said during the press conference.

Puig One Win Away from Earning Puerto Rico’s First-Ever Olympic Gold Medal at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

It’s either gold or silver for Monica Puig

The 22-year-old Puerto Rican tennis player stunned two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the Women’s Signles semifinals, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, to advance to the Gold Medal match at the 2016 Rio Games.

Monica Puig

Puig, who will face Angelique Kerber of Germany, has guaranteed Puerto Rico it’s ninth’s Olympic medal all-time, it made her the island’s first female medalist in any sport and gives her a chance to claim her country’s first-ever gold.

“For me it would mean the world,” said Puig. “It would be unbelievable and the biggest honor in the world. I’m doing it more for my country. This Olympics isn’t about me it’s about Puerto Rico and I know how bad they want this. This isn’t for me this is for them.”

Even Puig couldn’t have imagined she’d be in this position when the week began. Ranked 34th in the world, she owns just one career WTA title and has never been past the fourth round of a Grand Slam.

But she has found a different gear in Rio, upsetting French Open champion Garbine Muguruza and 11th-ranked Kvitova on her way to the final, double-jumping high into the air and covering her face with her hands as match point ended.

She also had significant support from the crowd, including a smattering of Puerto Rican flags waving through the stadium.

“I don’t think I’m so much a different play but my team sat me down after the first match her and said if you want to win you have to step it up and show everyone why you deserve to win,” she said. “That kind of changed my perspective. I have a lot of responsibility not just to myself but my country and if I want this I need to step it up.”

Puig Defeats Polona Hercog to Reach Women’s Singles Semifinals at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

Mónica Puig is one win away from earning an Olympic medal…

The 22-year-old Puerto Rican tennis play won her quarterfinal match at the 2016 Rio Games, and now she is thisclose to winning at least a silver medal.

Mónica Puig

Puig continues to take single women’s tennis by storm at the 2016 Summer Olympics, after beating Slovenia’s Polona Hercog in three sets: 4-6, 6-1 and 3-6 to advance to the semifinals.

She has also bested Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza and Germany’s Laura Seigemund.

Muguruza, the fourth-ranked player in the world and 2016 French Open champion was bested by Puig, 6-1, 6-1 in three sets.

Puig is ranked 34th in the world, but her momentum at the Rio Olympics has pushed her to the semifinal round, where she’ll face the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitová.

Puig Beats Garbine Muguruza to Reach Quarterfinals at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

Monica Puig is one step closer to gold

The 22-year-old Puerto Rican tennis player, competing in her first Olympics, routed French Open champion Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-1 on Tuesday to reach the 2016 Rio Games quarterfinals, notching the biggest win of her career.

Monica Puig

“You just go in shock,” she said.

Even with the big lead, keeping it together through those last couple of games was tricky.

“You start getting emotional, and there’s no hiding it,” Puig said. “You start feeling those butterflies, those nerves. It’s all of that coming out.

Ranked 34th in the world, Puig has never reached the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam. Now she’s two wins from an Olympic medal.

She’ll face a player with a similar ranking for a spot in the semifinals: No. 32 Laura Siegemund, a 28-year-old German who is having a career year. Siegemund won her first WTA title at the Swedish Open last month.

At the 2013 French Open, Puig became the first woman representing Puerto Rico to reach the third round at a major in the Open era, which began in 1968. But at her first Olympics, her nationality takes on much more resonance.

“When I’m playing in the WTA, it’s more like I’m playing for myself — my job, let’s say,” she said. “Here, it’s not really my job. It’s for my country, and I think nothing in the world can compare to that. It’s the most special feeling when you put on your colors of your country and you’re walking around the Olympic Village and everybody looks to see your country on the back of your shirt.”

Muguruza is already a major champion. But after beating Serena Williams in the final at Roland Garros for her first Grand Slam title, the Spaniard lost in the second round at Wimbledon. She had 29 unforced errors to 15 winners on Tuesday.