Andy Murray is through to the Olympic final for the second Games in succession after beating Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-4 in Saturday’s first semi-final.
The defending champion will face either Spain’s Rafael Nadal or Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in Sunday’s title decider and is now guaranteed to win at least a silver medal.
Murray beat Roger Federer on Centre Court at Wimbledon in 2012 and he assured himself of a third Olympic medal with perhaps his best display of the tournament so far and no repeat of the dramas of the last two rounds.
Murray’s route to Olympic final
|Round One||bt Viktor Troicki (Ser)||6-3 6-2|
|Round Two||bt Juan Monaco (Arg)||6-3 6-1|
|Round Three||bt Fabio Fognini (Ita)||6-1 2-6 6-3|
|Quarter-Final||bt Steve Johnson (USA)||6-0 4-6 7-6|
|Semi-Final||bt Kei Nishikori (Jap)||6-1 6-4|
Having been forced to come from a break down in the deciding set against both Fabio Fognini in round three and Steve Johnson in Friday’s quarter-final, Murray gave Nishikori no opportunity and eased into the gold medal match leaving the Japanese to drop into the play-off for bronze
Murray’s performances in the opening set have been ruthless and in blazing Rio sun at the tennis centre, the semi-final followed the same pattern with the world number two getting the job done in under half an hour for the loss of just one game.
Dominant on his own serve throughout Murray forced the early breakthrough by breaking his opponent in the fourth and sixth games of the first set and had little trouble in serving out for a 6-1 win in the opener.
With Nishikori seemingly below-par, a succession of unforced errors from the world number seven fell into the net, Murray looked to take advantage and there seemed little chance of the mid-match collapses that have been a feature of the Scot’s last two matches.
The pair exchanged the opening four games of the second set before Murray pounced in the fifth, but only thanks toan uncharacteristic display from Nishikori whose succession of wild and loose shots gave Murray a break to love.
The 29-year-old from Dunblane never looked back and closed out the match with little trouble on his own serve and only the very briefest of flurries from Nishikori, the closing stages of the match produced perhaps the rally of the men’s tournament which Murray won with a brilliant winner of the stretch.
So having began the Games by carrying the Great Britain flag, Murray will look to add a gold medal to the two medals he won in London, a silver with Laura Robson in the mixed doubles following his gold from a memorable win over Federer.