Rio 2016: Andy Murray cruises into third round

Britain's Andy Murray enjoyed a comfortable win in Rio
Britain's Andy Murray enjoyed a comfortable win in Rio
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ANDY Murray marched on into the third round of the Olympic men’s singles with minimum fuss as he crushed Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-3, 6-1.

The Team GB flagbearer will now continue the defence of his title with a tie against Italy’s Fabio Fognini or Frenchman Benoit Paire.

The world No 2 was very upset after he and brother Jamie lost their doubles opener on Sunday night.

The pair had set their sights firmly on a medal after their Davis Cup heroics together but were beaten by Brazilians Thomaz Bellucci and Andre Sa.

Around the same time, Murray’s chances of a second successive singles gold improved significantly when Novak Djokovic was beaten by Juan Martin Del Potro in the singles.

Del Potro’s Argentinian team-mate Monaco, ranked 107, appeared to hold few fears for Murray and so it proved as the Scot prevailed in just 69 minutes.

Murray won the first three games, was pegged back to 3-2, but quickly forged ahead again, coming out on top of most of the long rallies and clinching the set with his fourth ace.

Monaco, who could well be an opponent for Murray in September’s Davis Cup semi-final, had won two of his previous five matches against the Scot but both were more than five years ago.

The many Argentinians in the crowd were providing loud support to Monaco but his serve was taking a pounding and Murray quickly moved into a 4-0 lead in the second set.

The Scot, whose potential quarter-final opponent David Ferrer was knocked out by Evgeny Donskoy, kept his foot firmly on Monaco’s throat and a missed backhand from the Argentinian sealed his fate.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed that Jamie Murray and Johanna Konta will be Britain’s entry in the mixed doubles.

Andy also entered with Wimbledon champion Heather Watson but her ranking of 66 left them 18th in the entry list, which is decided on combined rankings, for the 16-team draw.

Konta continued her superb Olympic debut by beating eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals in the singles.

Tenth seed Konta eased through her opening two matches but this was a real step up.

She made too many errors in the first set and only held serve once but then recovered from 2-0 down to take a high-quality second.

Two-time grand slam champion Kuznetsova struck first in the decider with a break for 3-2 but Konta reeled off three games in a row to move to the brink of victory.

She could not serve it out, though, and then looked in major trouble at 5-5 0-40 only to save all of the break points, taking her tally for the match to 12 out of 19 saved.

That left Kuznetsova serving to stay in the match and she was unable to do so, saving three match points but not a fourth as Konta claimed the win after three hours and eight minutes.

The victory continues a remarkable year for the Eastbourne resident, who won her first WTA Tour title last month and is on the verge of a place in the top 10.

In the last eight, the 25-year-old will play either second seed Angelique Kerber or Australia’s Sam Stosur.

Rafael Nadal, who is still in singles and doubles, will challenge for a third medal alongside French Open champion Garbine Muguruza in the moxed doubleswhile Venus Williams’ hopes of a fifth Olympic gold are still alive after she entered with Rajeev Ram.

Djokovic’s Games are definitely over, though, and the world No 1 revealed after his doubles loss on Monday night that he will skip the Masters event in Cincinnati next week and will not play again until the US Open.

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