TENNIS

“I’ll give it my best shot” says Murray as final looms

Andy Murray has a chance of becoming the first player to win back-to-back Olympic golds after beating Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-4 to reach the final on Saturday.

“I’ll give it my best shot” says Murray as final looms
KEVIN LAMARQUE REUTERS

Andy Murray insisted he's ready to conquer the challenge of becoming the first player to win back-to-back Olympic golds after crushing Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-4 to reach the final on Saturday.

The world No.2 and reigning Wimbledon champion will face Argentina's Juan Martín del Potro, who saw off Rafael Nadal in Sunday's gold medal match.

No player has ever defended an Olympic title but Murray, buoyed by his best performance of the tournament, believes he's ready to add the 2016 gold to his 2012 triumph in London.

“It would mean a lot to me. It's not easy, that's why it's never been done before, but I will go out there and give it my best,' said the 29-year-old. I am guaranteed a medal already but the goal is to win gold and I'll do all I can to do it”.

Saturday's victory allowed Murray to extend his mastery over Nishikori to 7-1 and stretch his current winning streak to a career-best 17 matches. But the Briton's routine win wasn't without incident. He collected a code violation from match official Carlos Ramos who believed Murray had called him a “stupid umpire”.

“I didn't say 'stupid umpire', I said 'stupid umpiring'. But if you want to be the star of the show, that's fine”, growled Murray at a changeover.

Nishikori, 26, had to save three match points to beat Gaël Monfils in the quarter-finals and the effort took its toll on Saturday when he was broken in the fourth and sixth games of the first set. The Japanese star won just five points off the Murray serve in the opener and seven in the second when he was broken again in the sixth game.

He managed to save two match points but dumped the third into the net with a weary backhand and the contest was over in 80 minutes. Murray didn't face a single break point in the match.

Nishikori will now have to regroup for the bronze medal match on Sunday. “Andy gave me a lot of pressure and my concentration just wasn't there to beat him. Now I have to recover for Sunday. It's something new for me to have to come back and play another match after losing”.