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After the headlines: What next for Darcis and Puig?

Monica Puig prepares a backhand stroke.
by Darren Saligari
Wednesday 26 June 2013

There's an upset or unexpected result at every tournament. But when that tournament is one of the Grand Slams, it is magnified by about a million.

This week Steve Darcis and Monica Puig, two relatively unknown players ranked No.135 and No.65 respectively, both pulled off opening day wins that created headlines around the world.

When Puig bested fifth seed Sara Errani and Rafael Nadal was upended by Darcis in the opening round they joined a small but exclusive club of Wimbledon giant killers.

Names such as Lukas Rosol, Peter Doohan, Jelena Dokic, George Bastl, Ivo Karlovic and Lori McNeil are synonymous with famous victories on the grass.

Causing an upset of this magnitude comes with few guarantees – it's not easy to play the match of your life every time you step on court.

Sadly for Darcis the elation of defeating Nadal on Monday wasn't enough to carry him through the tournament, with the Slovakian withdrawing before his scheduled second-round match against Lukasz Kubot, who now moves through to the third round where he will face Benoit Paire.

A shoulder injury sustained during the win over Nadal proved to be the one obstacle that Darcis could not overcome this week.

"Had to withdrawn after a win like this!?THE most difficult thing i had to do!!!#triedeverythingtoplaybutdidntwork!!!!" tweeted Darcis after succumbing to a right shoulder injury.

And Darcis isn't alone when it comes to giant killers who have been unable to keep their winning streak alive.

Rosol, who made a name for himself last year when he surprised Rafael Nadal in the second round, was promptly dispatched in straight sets by Philipp Kohlschreiber the next round. Likewise Swiss journeyman Bastl, who trivia buffs will remember sensationally ousted sixth seed Pete Sampras in 2002, fell in straight sets to David Nalbandian the next time he stepped on court.

For some, being the underdog who wins has its pitfalls. But for Puig, the Puerto Rican teenager who enjoys creative writing, her story continues after she backed up her win on Monday with a 6-2 5-7 6-4 victory over Silvia Soler-Espinosa.

Puig's run to the third round at The Championships equals her best result at a major to date. She also made it to the third round at Roland Garros earlier this year where she ousted 11th seed Nadia Petrova in the opening round.

Next up for Puig is Czech Eva Birnerova. And if Puig has her way, her tournament will continue into the second week, and not end in an anti-climax as Steve Darcis's did today.

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