Men’s Semis set + Puig, Kerber go for Gold

Published by Paul Moore

Monica Puig has made a sensational run to the women's final. Photo: Getty Images
Monica Puig and Angelique Kerber will square off for an Olympic Gold, while the men’s semifinals are set.

There may have been rain, there may have been wind, but there was still tennis. On a chilly, wet day in Rio, the women’s Gold medal match was set, while the final four was established on the men’s side of the draw.

The women’s Gold medal match set:

Monica Puig has been on the ‘up’ for a while now. Despite that, it would have been a brave person who backed the popular Puerto Rican to make the Olympic final. But after a hard-hitting, topsy turvey 6-4 1-6 6-3 win over Petra Kvitova, that’s exactly what she has done.

“The Olympics isn’t about me, it’s about Puerto Rico and I know how bad they want this,” Puig said. “The island is full of such bad news all the time, so every time there’s a Games and somebody from the Island wins a medal everything stops and I know how happy people get. So this one is not for me.”

There’s only one thing standing between Puig and a Gold medal: Angelique Kerber. The German, who has been in inspired form since the start of the European summer, swept aside Madison Keys 6-3 7-5 to book a spot in her first Olympic final.

“We are here at the Olympics and it’s my first Olympic final,” Kerber said. ”I will try to enjoy it for sure but I will also go out there and try to play my best tennis and try to win it of course. It will be a special day but in the end I will try to stay focused and not be too emotional.

Men’s awesome foursome into the semis:

As history illustrates, defending an Olympic title is a tricky business. For the second day in succession Andy Murray was taken to three sets, and today he survived by the skin of his teeth. After a dominant start against world No.22 Steve Johnson, Murray was hauled back into a tough, tight scrap, eventually winning 6-0 4-6 7-6(2).

“For me it has nothing to do with having won the gold in London,” Murray said. “It’s trying to win more medals for your country and your team and I give my best shot to do that.”

Murray will square off against Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who had to call on all of his reserves to down inspired Frenchman Gael Monfils. In a tough, tight match, the No.4 seed eventually triumphed 7-6(4) 4-6 7-6(6).

In the top half of the draw, Juan Martin Del Potro and Rafa Nadal set up the semifinal that everyone has been looking forward to since Delpo ousted Djokovic in the opening stanza of the event.

Del Potro, who has been reduced to tears on numerous occasions during the week, was once again nigh on speechless following his 7-5 7-6(4) win over Roberto Bautista Agut.

“I cannot believe the moment, the crowd make me cry in every match,” Delpo said. “Every match is like a final for me and I’m doing a big effort in every point. Of course, the crowd help me to never give up and keep winning.”

Facing him for a pop at the Gold medal will be Rafa Nadal. The Spaniard, who is shooting for a unique double Olympic Gold (he’s in the men’s doubles final with Marc Lopez), was forced to dig deep against Thomaz Bellucci (and the passionate Brazilian crowd). It took the No.3 seed more than two hours to eventually win through 2-6 6-4 6-2.

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