Monica Puig makes Olympic history for Puerto Rico

Published 1046 GMT (1846 HKT) September 21, 2016
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Tennis player Monica Puig waves to the crowd after arriving back in Puerto Rico from the Rio 2016 Olympics, where she became her country's first gold medalist. CNN
Puig, who has never reached the quarterfinals of a grand slam tournament, was a shock winner of the women's singles event. LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images/file
After seven decades of waiting, Puerto Rico's anthem -- "La Borinqueña" -- finally heralded an Olympic champion. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images South America/Getty Images
Ranked 34th, she was overcome with emotion after upsetting second seed Angelique Kerber in the final. Puig earlier defeated world No. 4 Garbine Muguruza and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images South America/Getty Images
Puig became the first Puerto Rican woman to win an Olympic medal of any color and the first unseeded player to become champion since women's tennis was reintroduced at the 1988 Olympics. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images South America/Getty Images
Puerto Rico's Olympic team -- which won just one medal in Rio -- was welcomed back home after the August 5-21 Games. CNN
Puig told CNN's Open Court show that she hopes the US territory, which is beset by economic and social problems, will take hope from her triumph. CNN
Puig took part in the Arthur Ashe Kids' Day with fellow tennis pros Steve Johnson and Venus Williams, but her first tournament after the Olympics ended with first-round defeats in both singles and doubles at the US Open. Steven Ryan/Getty Images North America/Getty Images/file
Before 2016, Puig had just one career title on the WTA Tour -- but she reached the final in Sydney at the start of the new season. PETER PARKS/AFP/AFP/Getty Images/file
After reaching the third round at the Australian and French Opens, Puig lost her opening match at Wimbledon. ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/AFP/Getty Images/file
As a junior, Puig was a losing finalist in the 2011 Australian Open and French Open (pictured) girls' events. JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images/file
Puig is not the first Puerto Rican tennis player to win Olympic gold. Gigi Fernandez (left) was a two-time women's doubles champion representing the United States at the 1992 and 1996 Games. She played for her native country at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, when tennis was a demonstration sport, before switching allegiances. PAUL VREEKER/AFP/AFP/Getty Images