Rio de Janeiro, Aug 12 (IANS) Defending champion Andy Murray of Britain struggled for a long stretch win over his Italian opponent Fabio Fognini but found his game midway through the third set to win 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 and advance to the Rio Olympics tennis men's singles quarter-finals.
The second-seeded Scotsman, the gold medal favourite after Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic's stunning first-round defeat at the hands of Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, lost nine of 11 games to drop the second set and go down 3-0 in the decider here at the Olympic Tennis Centre on Thursday, reports Efe.
The 2016 Wimbledon champion turned into virtual wall over the last few games to break Fognini's serve three straight times and claim victory in two hours and seven minutes.
Murray will take on 22nd-ranked American Steve Johnson, a 6-1, 6-1 winner over Russia's Evgeny Donskoy on Thursday, in the quarterfinals.
Three of the top four men's seeds advanced to the singles quarterfinals, with Spanish No. 3 seed Rafael Nadal taking out Frenchman Gilles Simon 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 and Japanese No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori cruising past the Slovak Republic's Andrej Martin 6-2, 6-2.
Murray won gold at the 2012 London Olympics, defeating Djokovic and Swiss great Roger Federer in the semifinals and final, respectively, to claim what was then the biggest title of his career.
He has since won one US Open and two Wimbledon titles.