LONDON, England (AFP) — Britain's Andy Murray survived another stern examination from Cyprus's Marcos Baghdatis to reach the Olympic quarter-finals with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win yesterday.
Murray had started his bid for Olympic gold in superb form, but Baghdatis pushed him hard in a four-set clash that went late into the evening in the Wimbledon third-round last month and the world number 44 proved a tough opponent again at the same stage of the Games.
In windy conditions on Centre Court, Murray looked in danger of a shock defeat as the world number four was outplayed in the first set.
But the Scot, beaten in this year's Wimbledon final by Roger Federer, finally found enough momentum to edge through to a last eight clash with Spanish 11th seed Nicolas Almagro.
Baghdatis broke Murray in the opening game of the match, unleashing a brilliant forehand winner on break-point that left the Scot rooted to the spot.
Although Murray responded with a break of his own in the fourth game, Baghdatis was playing some great stuff and he broke to love to take a 4-3 lead. Baghdatis's subtle game can make him a tricky proposition and Murray had no answer as the former Australian Open finalist served out the set.
But Baghdatis had faded after initially troubling Murray in their last meeting and once again the Scot was able to wrestle the match away from his opponent.
It was as though the first set had never happened as Murray reeled off three breaks to take the second in emphatic fashion.
Baghdatis had gone from dominant to dismal in the space of 20 minutes and Murray kept the pressure on with another break to take the final set.
Federer, meanwhile, endured two rain delays and a shaky moment late in the first set to reach the quarter-finals by beating Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 7-5, 6-3.
Serving at five-all in the first set, the number one-seeded Federer faced three break
points and erased them all. He then broke and was in control from there.
A four-time Olympian,
Federer has yet to win a
singles medal, although he and Swiss teammate Stanislas Wawrinka did win the gold in doubles in 2008. Federer is playing his first tournament since winning a record-tying seventh Wimbledon title.
Number two Novak Djokovic hit 16 aces and came from behind to beat Lleyton Hewitt of Australia 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. Djokovic next plays number five Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, who beat Feliciano Lopez of Spain 7-6 (5), 6-4 less than 24 hours after winning a 48-game third set.