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Wimbledon champ Murray advances to Olympic men's tennis final to defend London gold

RIO DE JANEIRO--Britain's Andy Murray advanced to the men's Olympic final with a straight sets victory over Japan's Kei Nishikori on Saturday, securing a chance to defend his title and become the first player to win two singles golds at the Games.

Andy Murray of Britain celebrates after winning his semifinals match against Kei Nishikori of Japan at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Aug. 13. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Andy Murray of Britain celebrates after winning his semifinals match against Kei Nishikori of Japan at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Aug. 13. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

RIO DE JANEIRO-Britain's Andy Murray advanced to the men's Olympic final with a straight sets victory over Japan's Kei Nishikori on Saturday, securing a chance to defend his title and become the first player to win two singles golds at the Games.

In a commanding performance, the Wimbledon champion and number two ranked player broke Nishikori's serve early on, breezing through the first set 6-1. Murray served aggressively and quickly closed out the match 6-1 6-4, never giving Nishikori a single chance to break back.

"I think I played really well," Murray told reporters after the match. "I didn't give him any opportunities on my serves and I was very aggressive when I was returning."

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

Though Nishikori's speed allowed him to punch back against Murray's blazing ground strokes, the Japanese player was plagued by too many unforced errors.

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"My concentration wasn't there enough to beat Andy today," he told reporters.

In Sunday's gold medal match, the 29-year-old Briton will face either Spain's Rafael Nadal or Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro. In the second men's semi-finals on Saturday, Nadal took the first set 7-5 but was down a service break in the second set, trailing 1-2.

Murray won gold at the 2012 London Games where he defeated Switzerland's Roger Federer in the final.

But the Briton will have his work cut out for him on Sunday. Del Potro, the bronze medallist in London, has drawn energy from boisterous crowds of fans from neighbouring Argentina at the Games. He pulled off an upset by defeating world number one Novak Djokovic in the first round in Rio.

Nadal, who has been beset by a wrist injury, also appears to have returned to form. He claimed a gold medal for Spain in men's doubles with partner Marc Lopez on Friday.

If Nadal makes the final, he will also be aiming to become the first man ever to win two Olympic golds in singles, after winning the title in 2008 at Beijing. Nadal skipped the London Games due to a knee injury.

The Spaniard would also have a chance to become the first player since 1924 to win a gold medal in both men's singles and doubles at a Games.

Related Topics: OLYMPICSTENNIS
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