Olympics Rio 2016: Andy Murray survives huge scare against Fabio Fognini to reach last eight

Murray survives huge scare against Fognini to keep title defence on track

11/08/2016 at 19:45Updated 11/08/2016 at 20:39

Andy Murray was forced to recover from trailing 3-0 to Fabio Fognini in the final set before reeling off six straight games in a 6-1 2-6 6-3 victory in a frantic third-round battle in Rio that lasted for over two hours.

The British number one's reward is a meeting with American world number 22 Steve Johnson - a 6-1 6-1 winner over Russia's Evgeny Donskoy - in the quarter-finals as the Scotsman remains on course to emulate his gold medal success at London in 2012.

But he will have to play better than this to be sure of back-to-back gold medals after looking helpless as world number 40 Fognini won eight straight games and broke for a 3-0 lead in the final set before the world number two Murray restored some sense of normality to the occasion by producing some fine tennis as his opponent wilted despite the support of a noisy posse of Italian fans.

Andy Murray in action in Rio.

Andy Murray in action in Rio.Eurosport

Murray remained in good spirits after the match as he returned to the main court seconds later to sign autographs for fans, no doubt relieved that his participation in the men's singles remains active after being tested by Fognini on a sluggish court that suited the San Remo native's baseline instincts.

It looked like Fognini might repeat his famous straight-sets victory over Murray in the Davis Cup on the clay of Naples two years ago, but Murray found a way to detonate what threatened to torpedo his standing as tournament favourite ahead of Rafael Nadal, who had few similar problems in downing Gilles Simon 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to secure a quarter-final meeting with Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci.