Andy Murray advances to tennis finals

Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori meet in the semifinals of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.

Gold rather than history will be on Andy Murray's mind when he plays in a second successive Olympic final on Sunday.

The other semi-final is a mouthwatering clash between third seed Rafael Nadal and London bronze medallist Juan Martin Del Potro.

Nadal and Marc Lopez came back from a break down in the final set to outlast Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in a dramatic doubles final that lasted two hours and 30 minutes.

He is the form player in world tennis - his only defeat since May coming in the final of the French Open. It would be the same as the U.S. Open.

Del Potro, the conqueror of Djokovic in round one, saw off Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5 7-6 (7/4) to continue his fairytale run after three wrist operations.

"I just tried to keep fighting and thankfully he made a few mistakes and I managed to get the win".

The No. 2-seeded Murray earned a gold in singles and a silver in mixed doubles for Britain at London in 2012, and now is guaranteed to leave Brazil with no worse than a silver.

"He's the favorite for sure", del Potro said.

Asked about the prospect of winning a second straight Olympic singles gold, Murray said: "It would mean a lot". "It's obviously not an easy thing to do. That's why it's not been done before".

He showed signs of his resurgence by beating two-time major title victor Stan Wawrinka at Wimbledon in June, then used all of his 6-foot-6 frame to produce intimidating forehand after forehand that Djokovic couldn't fend off.

"I can not believe the moment", Del Potro commented. "For me it has nothing to do with having won the gold in London".

Even if Murray loses to Nishikori, he will still have a chance to win a medal in the bronze play-off, but he denied that would lift a little of the pressure.

But they were all on their feet at the end of the remarkable penultimate point, which ended with Murray sat on his backside with his arm aloft after somehow conjuring a winning passing shot. Nadal broke right back at love, with the help of a couple of superb shots he marked with more than a half-dozen fist pumps apiece.

Murray finished with 31 winners but also 36 unforced errors.

Give me Murray yet again.

Serving for the victory, Murray came up with a tremendous down-the-line backhand passing victor on a 23-stroke exchange, stumbling as he hit the shot and winding up sitting right there on the green court.

That gave Murray his third match point, which he converted with a service victor. He yanked off his white hat and bellowed.

Murray said: "It was really, really hard out there and difficult to appreciate unless you're actually out there playing. Even the ones that I lost he was having to work hard for".



Other news