Tennis: Murray reaches quarter-finals after Fognini scare

Thu Aug 11, 2016 4:54pm EDT
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By Joshua Schneyer

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Defending champion Andy Murray survived a scare to reach the quarter-finals of the men's Olympic tennis tournament with a three-set victory over Fabio Fognini on Thursday.

Murray won 6-1 2-6 6-3 after rallying from a 3-0 third-set deficit against the Italian, who won eight straight games before the Briton regained control.

Spain's Rafa Nadal also booked his spot in the last eight with a 7-6(5) 6-3 win over Frenchman Gilles Simon.

The Olympic tennis tournament has been marked by some major upsets in the opening rounds and both Murray and Nadal were tested on Thursday, in gusty conditions after rain delays had canceled play on Wednesday.

The momentum shifts in Murray's match were striking. The Italian mounted an aggressive counter-attack after Murray won the first set easily, repeatedly wrong-footing the Briton on the baseline, or drawing him in with drop shots. But Murray turned it around to win the last six games.

"It wasn't pretty, but I won," he told reporters. "The wind was swirling everywhere, so it was just really tough conditions for us to play well."

Murray, who now faces Steve Johnson of the United States, is favorite to clinch a second straight gold medal following the first-round exit of world number one Novak Djokovic to Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro.

Brazil's Thomaz Belucci beat Belgium's David Goffin in two close sets on Thursday to set up a quarter-final clash between against Nadal.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Tennis - Preliminary - Men's Singles Third Round - Olympic Tennis Centre - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 11/08/2016. Andy Murray (GBR) of United Kingdom celebrates after winning his match against Fabio Fognini (ITA) of Italy.  REUTERS/Toby Melville   TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.