Andy Murray will continue his title defense in Rio 2016 Olympic tennis men’s competition on Friday. The British tennis superstar is set to collide with Steve Johnson of the United States in the quarterfinals.
Murray, who won the men’s singles gold in London four years ago, moved three wins away from capturing the gold for the second consecutive Summer Games on Thursday after winning against Fabio Fognini of Italy. It was not a walk in the park, though, as he looked on the brink of elimination early in the third set, Sky Sports noted.
After cruising to a masterful 6-1 win in the opening set, Fognini adjusted well and took a 6-2 victory in the second set. The Italian contender was able to carry the momentum into the third and deciding set, as he built a commanding 3-0 lead over the reigning Olympic champion.
However, Murray rose to the occasion and fought toe-to-toe with Fognini. He managed to force a 3-3 tie after several exchanges before he pulled away in the next three games en route to the victory, booking a spot in the final eight.
Meanwhile, Johnson is looking to surprise his fans anew with a shocking upset against Murray. He was not considered among the medal favorites heading into the tournament. In fact, ESPN reported that he could have been left out of the US team if John Isner and Sam Querrey opted to play in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Johnson managed to prove his doubters wrong, particularly in the semis, where he cruised to a convincing 6-1 6-1 victory against Evgeny Donskoy of Russia. Before winning against Donskoy, Johnson defeated Darian King of Barbados and Elias Gastao of Portugal in the first two rounds, respectively.
Against Murray, Johnson will be considered as heavy underdog but he has already declared earlier in the tournament that he is not thinking of the tall odds he is facing. “Anything can happen,” he said. “It’s men’s pro tennis. Nothing is set in stone.”
The Murray vs Johnson match is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. ET. Rafael Nadal, Thomas Belluci, Gael Monfils, Kei Nishikori, Juan Martin Del Potro and Roberto Bautista Agut will also see action on Friday.
Fans can catch Rio 2016 Olympic tennis action through online live stream via NBC Olympics. Check out the complete schedule on this link, while the Murray-Johnson match live scores will be available here.