For the first time in the history of women’s tennis a Colombian female won a gold medal, as Mariana Duque-Mariño defeated Mexico’s Victoria Rodriguez in straight sets to secure glory for her country.
The world No. 89 ousted the tournament’s top seed Lauren Davis in the semi-final stage of the tournament, while her opponent reached the final by taking out the second seeded Monica Puig. Yet when they crossed paths in the final, it was Duque-Mariño who shone brightest and earned the 6-4, 6-4 win.
“Here, the rankings don’t mean anything,” said Duque-Mariño ahead of the gold medal match. “When the competition is for your country, it’s dangerous to think about rankings. So I will stay very alert, fight for every point and play my game.”
Although the No. 321 ranked Rodriguez finished runner-up with a silver medal, she was still the first finalist for Mexico at a Pan Am tournament since 1967 and even helped secure another silver medal in the doubles tournament.
“I’m very happy, I could finally get Rio de Janeiro off my back,” she said, referring to her silver medal at the 2007 Pan Am Games. “And also I’m satisfied with the great tennis I’ve been playing, and showing that I’m maturing and really placing myself among the best in the world.”
The bronze medal match featured the tournament favourites Davis and Puig. The contest went to a third set before Puig was able to secure the victory 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 and a bronze medal for Puerto Rico.