QUEBEC CITY, Canada - No.3 seed Monica Puig is off to a flying start on the indoor carpets of Quebec City, marching past Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 6-3 in the first round of the Coupe Banque Nationale.
Puig came into the tournament seeking to build on the momentum of her successful US Open Series - before the North American swing, the Puerto Rican hadn’t won a main draw match since Madrid in May and was recovering from a hip injury she suffered during Rome.
But since then, Puig has regained her rhythm, posting a semifinal appearance at the Connecticut Open and reaching the second round at the US Open. Earlier in the year, Puig had notched a fourth-round run in Miami - including a victory over No.2 Caroline Wozniacki - as well as quarterfinals in Monterrey.
Puig carried all of that into her match against Haddad Maia, her second clash of the year against the Brazilian after defeating her in straight sets at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The Puerto Rican’s serve was firing from the start; she fired four aces in the opening set and won 88% of points behind her first serve. As a result, she kept Haddad Maia under pressure throughout, and was rewarded with two breaks of serve, bracketing the set with a break at 2-1 and another at 5-2.
Haddad Maia put up some great resistance in the second set to try to halt Puig’s momentum - the No.3 seed quickly grabbed an early break to lead 2-0 and had points to make it 3-0, but the Brazilian held her nerve to fight off break point in two consecutive service games.
She broke back to level the match at 3-3, but Puig kept to her attacking game plan and struck right back in the next game to reestablish the lead. She reeled off the next two games in a row to serve out the match after an hour and 10 minutes on court.
Up next in the second round, Puig will face American player Madison Brengle, who knocked out qualifier Victoria Duval 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-4 earlier in the day.