Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs.  Monica Puig (PUR)
Puig is a talented player, everyone knows that and she confirmed that when she won gold in singles at the 2016 Rio Olympics (en route to that title she defeated two top ten players); however, she is also inconsistent as reflected in her ranking history. Once ranked as high as twenty-seven, she is flirting with dropping out of the top hundred. It seems like she has been on Tour forever; yet, she is still relatively young at twenty-four years and if she makes the commitment, she can accomplish so much more.
Wozniacki dominated their 2017 encounters, and losing the first set without winning a game may have discouraged Puig; yet, give her credit, she kept fighting. Interestingly, the crowd which was always behind the Puerto Rican got louder in the second set and that may have been the difference in the match. Wozniacki got rattled early in the second set and it threw her off emotionally and mentally; she never quite regained her composure.
Spurred on by the crowd, Puig started to keep the ball in play and made some impressive winners. She also started serving better and strangely, she seemed calmer. Her attitude was probably: “Oh well, I lost the first set at love, I can only get better in the second set”. Whatever was in her head got her to play better and more consistent tennis.
Although she had opportunities to break the Dane in her first service game of the second set, she could not do so until the fifth game and that was all she needed to secure the second set and force a deciding set. Of their four previous encounters, three matches went the distance; thus, Wozniacki knew this was not going to be a straight forward match; however, it probably never occurred to her that she would lose the match.
Puig broke Wozniacki in her first service game and again in the fifth game of the third set and all the momentum shifted to her side of the net. However, the Dane is the reigning Australian Open champion and she knows a thing or two about adversity; she broke back in the sixth game when her opponent double faulted and lost her serve at love. Yet, Puig would not be denied and she regrouped nicely; she won 0-6, 6-4, 6-4, stunning last year’s finalist with her resilience.
SOURCE OF IMAGE: Zimbio.com (Al Bello/Getty Images North America: Monica Puig)