Puig hoping for Olympic boost in Cincinnati


Monica Puig will be straight back down to earth with a bump after her Olympic triumph as she enters the Western and Southern Open in the first round.

Despite her success in Rio, Puig still holds a world ranking of 34 and as such is not seeded for the first of two tournaments ahead of the US Open.

Puig begins her campaign against wildcard Louise Chirico on Monday and could face Garbine Muguruza and Serena Williams should she progress to the latter stages.

"I just can't believe it," Puig said after her gold medal triumph.

"This medal gives me a lot of confidence about what I can do. I hope I can use this as a boost so I can climb in the rankings."

Williams - who Puig replaced as Olympic champion - will also be in action after accepting a wildcard and is chasing a third successive title at the tournament.

The world number one has seen the Australian and French Open titles slip from her grasp in 2016, and she was beaten by Elina Svitolina in the third round in Rio.

One player who will not be standing in Williams' way is two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova after she sustained a right leg injury in Brazil.

Kvitova - who claimed bronze in Rio - withdrew ahead of Monday's first-round matches, the Czech expressing her disappointment at being unable to feature.

"I'm really disappointed to withdraw from the Western and Southern Open," she said.

"I always look forward to coming back to play in front of the great crowds in Cincinnati and look forward to being back there next year."

While Kvitova may not be in attendance, there will be a strong field as attentions turn to Flushing Meadows at the end of this month with the likes of Garbine Muguruza, Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep all looking for morale boosting wins.