Rio de Janeiro: British second seed Andy Murray moved within one victory of an unprecedented second Olympic men’s tennis singles gold medal by defeating Japanese No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-4 in the semi-finals at the Rio Games.
The 5-foot-10 Nishikori, who was on the verge of elimination in his quarterfinal match against France’s Gael Monfils on Friday, when he had to stave off three match points, struggled against a 6-foot-3 opponent who plays as well as he does from the baseline, matches him in terms of speed and court coverage and has a much bigger serve, reports Efe. By the time Nishikori got his teeth into Saturday’s match, Murray, who came into the match with a 6-1 career edge over the Japanese star, was already leading by a set and a break.
Nishikori went down fighting and nearly created a break point in the final game, but Murray won a phenomenal point in which he used his athleticism and defensive skills to stay in the rally and then finished it off with a backhand passing shot near the baseline to earn a match point. The Scotsman, who won gold four years ago in London, then secured a place in Sunday’s final against either Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro or Spanish No. 3 seed Rafael Nadal when Nishikori sent a ball over the baseline.
The Japanese world No. 7 will play the loser of that second semifinal in the bronze-medal match. In Saturday’s women’s singles bronze-medal contest, the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova defeated American Madison Keys 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 –IANS
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