Andy Murray fought back from a break down in the deciding set against Italy’s Fabio Fognini to reach the quarter-finals in the men’s singles.
After claiming the first set in comfortable fashion, 6-1, the defending champion lost eight games in a row and his 15 match winning streak looked to be coming to an end. But the Scot dug deep to win the final six games and take the match 6-1, 2-6, 6-3, to keep his hopes of a second gold medal alive. It was far from his most impressive match out in Rio, but often in tournaments you have to win ugly to go on and take the crown, and few have for grit than the Briton.
There was more good news for the Wimbledon champ, as he and partner Heather Watson received a late call-up to the mixed doubles, and earned a swift victory over Carla Suarez Navarro and David Ferrer of Spain 6-3, 6-3. Watson, who won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon this year, admitted she had ‘packed her bags’ after being knocked out of the singles in the second round, with two withdrawals allowing the British pair entry to the competition.
Elsewhere, third seed and 2008 champion Rafael Nadal continued his good form with a 7-6, (7-5), 6-3, victory over Frenchman Giles Simon, and as a result will face home favourite Thomaz Bellucci. The Spaniard has withdrawn from the mixed doubles to concentrate on his singles as well as Friday’s doubles final alongside partner Marc Lopez against Americans Steve Johnson and Jack Sock.
Juan Martin del Potro, conqueror of Novak Djokovic in the first round, also continued his run with a 6-7, (4-7), 6-1, 6-2, win over Taro Daniel of Japan. He will face a sterner test however in the quarter-final, where he meets world number 16 Roberto Bautista Agut.
In the women’s draw, German Angelique Kerber, the second seed, made light work of Britain’s Johanna Konta in her 6-1, 6-2, victory, setting up a semi-final with the promising Madison Keys from the United States. Kerber or Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova will be the favourite for the competition, and the pair could meet in the final. Kvitova dismantled Elina Svitolina, who knocked out Serena Williams, 6-2, 6-0, and now faces Monic Puig of Puerto Rico in the semi-finals.