After nearly losing a tight quarterfinal match against 12th-seeded American Steve Johnson, reigning gold medalist Andy Murray returned to form in his semifinal against 4th-seeded Kei Nishikori.
His victory means he is assured a singles medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Though his opponent took the first game in the second set, Murray didn't wilter as he had in his previous two matches. Instead, he moved quickly and hit aggressively to establish a 4-2 lead. Though Nishikori played fairly consistently and won a few more games, he ultimately lost to Murray by hitting into the net at 5-4.
Final score: 6-1, 6-4.
Great Britain’s Murray has won three Grand Slam titles, most recently defeating Canadian Milos Raonic in last month’s Wimbledon final. Though the Briton was seeded second behind rival and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia, he became the tournament favorite when Djokovic fell in a first-round epic against Argentina’s unseeded Juan Martin del Potro. (Del Potro will compete in Saturday’s other men’s singles semifinal against Spain’s Rafael Nadal.)
Japan’s Kei Nishikori, on the other hand, has never won a Grand Slam title or an Olympic medal. Currently ranked World No. 7, he has won 11 career titles, including one at this year’s Memphis Open. In 2014, Nishikori advanced to the US Open final but lost to Croatia’s Marin Cilic.
Prior to this match, a head-to-head between Murray and Nishikori had the Briton winning six of their seven encounters. Nishikori’s lone victory came at the 2014 ATP World Tour Finals.
Statistically speaking, Nishikori came into the semifinal as a huge underdog. But bigger upsets have occurred at the Rio Olympics.
Murray will now compete against the winner of the del Potro-Nadal semifinal, which takes place at approximately 12:30 PM ET on Centre Court.