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Olympics Rio 2016: Andy Murray shows mettle to reach semi-finals with win over Steve Johnson

Murray shows mettle to reach semi-finals with win over Johnson after frantic battle

12/08/2016 at 19:04Updated 12/08/2016 at 22:58

Andy Murray was put through the wringer by American Steve Johnson before the defending Olympic champion reached the Rio semi-finals with a 6-0 4-6 7-6 (7-2) win in a pulsating quarter-final that could have gone to either man.

He last lost to Novak Djokovic in the French Open final in June, but his powers of recovery will be tested to the limit having spent over four hours on court in his past two matches at the Rio tennis centre.

Murray - who downed Roger Federer in straight sets to win gold four years ago in London - will face Kei Nishikori on Saturday for a place in Sunday's final after Japan's fourth seed completed a 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (8-6) win over Gael Monfils in another tight contest.

Andy Murray (GBR) of Britain celebrates after winning his match against Steve Johnson (USA).

Andy Murray (GBR) of Britain celebrates after winning his match against Steve Johnson (USA).Eurosport

Steve Johnson of America fought gamely.

Steve Johnson of America fought gamely.Eurosport

But three-times Grand Slam champion Murray refused to panic, and promptly broke back before seeing off a Johnson break point at 4-4 in the third set which appeared to be a virtual match point due to the fearless way the California native was approaching the ball.

There were no further breaks of serve as the match headed for a nerve-jangling breaker, but Murray seized control early on and apart from a running backhand winner from Johnson that defied belief to close to 4-2 behind, Murray picked up the next three points to move one win away from another appearance in the Olympics' gold medal match.

In the top half of the draw, Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro beat Roberto Agut Bautista of Spain 7-5 7-6 (7-4) to secure a semi-final with Rafael Nadal who came from a set behind against Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci to complete a 2-6 6-4 6-2 succcess.

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