Briton Murray outlasts Del Potro to land gold
By Joshua Schneyer
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Britain's Andy Murray beat Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro 7-5 4-6 6-2 7-5 in a compelling Olympic tennis final on Sunday to become the first player to win two men's singles gold medals.
The world number two and his Argentine opponent shared a long hug at the net, with both man trying to hold back the tears, after a punishing, see-sawing, four-hour contest played out in front of a boisterous crowd at the Olympic Tennis Centre.
Murray's consistency proved decisive. He was able to wear down Del Potro's weaker backhand and frequently drew the fatigued Argentine into the net with deftly placed drop shots as the contest wore on.
Del Potro served for the fourth set at 5-4 but Murray broke the Argentine in consecutive games to claim the match, his 18th straight victory following his second Wimbledon title in July.
The 29-year-old Scot, winner of three grand slams, called the Rio encounter "one of the hardest matches I've had to play for a big title."
"There were so many ups and downs in the match... this has been much harder than London," he told reporters in reference to his gold medal win four years ago.
The Scot, Britain's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony in Rio, had been a hot favourite to retain his title but he was pushed all the way by an impressive Del Potro, who was roared on by hundreds of passionate Argentine fans.