Photo: Corinne DubreuilMonica Puig
The 2010 World No. 4 ranked Junior, Monica Puig, was last week crowned the singles champion at the $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit hard court tournament in Surprise, Arizona, USA.
Puig claimed her spot in the singles main draw in the American city of Surprise by virtue of the ITF Junior Exempt Programme and came into the tournament with a WTA singles ranking of 656. During the course of the tournament, Puig would only concede two sets all week and face players of a much higher ranking including seeded opposition in the first and final rounds who each held Top 300 rankings. In the final, her 5th seeded opponent, Lenka Wienerova from Slovakia, was some 415 places further up the ranking ladder at 241 and was ranked as high as 128 just eighteen months ago, but amazingly Puig brushed her challenge aside in a stunning 64 60 triumph.
This was the 17-year old Puerto Rican’s second title win on the ITF Pro Circuit, adding to her April 2010 title won, on the clay courts of Torrent, Spain, in a $10,000 tournament and comes fresh off the back of a successful run of results at ITF Junior Circuit events in January. This run saw her reach the singles and doubles finals, winning both titles, at the Loy Yang Traralgon International in Australia and also finish as runner-up at the 2011 Australian Open Junior Championships.
The ambitious teen, who dreams of one day being the World No. 1 and winner of Grand Slam trophies, much like her favourite player, Rafael Nadal, has also represented her nation in the Fed Cup on numerous occasions between 2008 and 2010. Her title winning performance in Surprise will go some way towards helping her achieve those goals and the points earned should catapult her to a new career high WTA singles ranking when the rankings are released on February 28th 2011.