Murray tops Nishikori to enter men’s singles tennis final

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 14 (IANS) 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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