Puig Stuns No.5 Seed Errani
Published June 24, 2013 12:01
On a chilly day in south-west London, Puig was in no mood to hang about, taking the match to her more illustrious opponent from the outset, firing 38 winners on her way to a 63 62 win in just one hour and 22 minutes.
Puig is rapidly making a name for herself on the WTA, with her crisp groundstrokes and athleticism attracting plenty of admiring glances. Absent from her on court arsenal, though, is a poker face; after fending off a couple of early break points, she broke Errani with a crunching cross-court backhand accompanied by a yelp of delight.
That would be the first of many as the young Puerto Rican began an irresistible run in which she took six of the next seven games. The first set was hers in just 35 minutes and Errani could do nothing to rouse her numerous, but increasingly subdued, supporters, dropping serve in the opening game of the second set as Puig continued to hammer away from the baseline.
A further break followed in the fifth game and despite a few late-match nerves, she eventually crossed the finishing line, putting away one final forehand winner on her seventh match point.
"It's great to pull off some big career wins and getting over the fear of closing out those matches, which was my problem at the beginning of the year." Puig said of her first Top 10 win. "I had a very good run at the French Open, getting to the third round, and it's good to build on that momentum.
"It takes some time to get used to the grass and I'm trying to adjust my game a little bit and I'm really pleased with how I started."
Puig is appearing in the main draw at the All-England Club for the very first time and is reveling in the surrounds of tennis' most storied venue.
"Well, it's my second time here. I came as junior as well," Puig added. "Obviously, it's my first time as a professional, which is special.
"I just think it's so elegant. You look out at the courts and all you can see is green and white, it's so special. It's the only Grand Slam that does it like that, so it's just a wonderful tournament."
Errani, who has never been beyond the third round at Wimbledon, is the first Top 5 seed to lose in the first round since her compatriot Francesca Schiavone in 2010. "For me, it's tough playing here on grass," she said. "She played a very good match and served very well. She also wasn't making many mistakes and was hitting such a strong ball.
"So it was tough for me. Normally, here it is always bit tough for me because I can't move as well. Of course, it's still a very important few weeks, so I tried my best, but it couldn't be today. She played a very good match, so I must also congratulate her on this."