LUXEMBOURG - Monica Puig sent top seed Angelique Kerber crashing out of the BNL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open after a commanding straight sets performance.
In a rematch of their Olympic final, Puerto Rico’s gold medalist Puig needed just an hour and 28 minutes to see off the former World No.1 in their late-night Luxembourg clash, winning 6-3, 6-4.
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“I felt really good out there; Kerber and I have played each other now five times, so we know each other quite well,” Puig explained after the match.
“I just went out there and tried to do my best and play my game, stay in the mood the best I could. Everything seemed to work pretty well today.”
Kerber will likely rue the missed opportunities early in the first set; she held multiple break points in Puig’s first and second service games, but failed to convert on either opportunity.
For her part, Puig needed just one chance, breaking the German’s serve and keeping her under pressure throughout with a barrage of her powerful, punching groundstrokes.
The same pattern emerged in the second set; Puig got ahead to a lone break early on in the set and held on to the lead as Kerber let four more break opportunities slip by.
In total, Puig blasted eight aces and 40 winners past Kerber and struck 23 unforced errors against the German’s 18 winners and 19 unforced errors. But the stat that will stand out the most is the Kerber’s break point conversion rate, ending the match at zero of eight.
“Towards the end of this year I’ve been starting to find my form again and feel a bit more confident in what I can do,” Puig explained. “I know that I can play at this level, it just took me a bit of time to get back there.
“I’m really happy, but this is still just the first round. I want to hopefully get to the final, so there’s plenty of matches ahead hopefully. That’s what I’m going to focus on.”
Through to the second round, Puig will face qualifier Alison Van Uytvanck. The Belgian took down Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets earlier in the day, 6-2, 6-4.