Murray, Nadal, others all set for Rio quarter-finals

Murray, Nadal, others all set for Rio quarter-finals

Defending champion Andy Murray battled for a long stretch on Thursday against Italy’s Fabio Fognini but managed to win 6-1, 2-6, 6-3.

Murray thereby advanced to the Rio Olympics tennis men’s singles quarterfinals.

He converted six of his 12 break point opportunities to advance and will face No. 12 seed Steve Johnson.

[The American needed 64 minutes to defeat Evgeny Donskoy 6-1, 6-1.]

Presently, the second-seeded Scotsman is the gold medal favorite.

His chances heightened after Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s stunning first-round defeat at the hands of Argentine Juan Martin del Potro.

So far, he has lost nine of 11 games to drop the second set and go down 3-0 in the decider.

But , Murray the 2016 Wimbledon champion, turned into virtual wall over the last few games to break Fognini’s serve three straight times and claim victory in two hours and seven minutes.

Third seed Rafael Nadal topped No. 15 seed Gilles Simon 7-6(5), 6-3 to advance to the last eight, hitting 21 winners in the two-hour match.

Nadal, the Olympic Champion in 2008, will next face home hope Thomaz Bellucci, who upset No. 8 seed David Goffin 7-6(10) 6-4.

[The Brazilian won 71 per cent of his first serve points and hit 18 winners to advance.]

Nadal ensured that he will be taking home at least one Olympic medal.

He teamed with Marc Lopez to defeat Canada’s Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 7-6(1), 7-6(4) in the doubles semi-finals.

The Spaniards will face Romanians Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau for gold.

Mergea/Tecau topped Americans Steve Johnson and Jack Sock 6-3, 7-5.

The American and Canadian teams will face off for the bronze medal.

Juan Martin del Potro prevailed 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-2 over Taro Daniel, firing 43 winners to reach the quarter-finals.

The Argentine will look to advance to the medal rounds when he faces tenth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, a 6-4, 7-6(4) winner over Gilles Muller.

Gael Monfils will take on Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals after beating Marin Cilic 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4.

Nishikori edged Slovakia’s Andrej Martin 6-2, 6-2.

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Murray, Nadal are set for Rio quarter-finals