Andy Murray made history Sunday becoming the first player to win multiple gold medals in singles and also the first to win them back-to-back. The Brit did it by beating a valiant Juan Martin del Potro in a topsy-turvy 4-hour, 2-minute affair 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
“The fact that it hasn’t been done before obviously shows that it’s very hard,” Murray said. “I’m very proud to have been the first one to have done that.”
Murray came out on top of del Potro, who had played over three hours in a win Saturday over Rafael Nadal, breaking the Argentine in his first service of the match, a tank-busting game that lasted nearly 15 minutes.
Del Potro fought back, getting back to even but Murray was too tough from the back, peppering the Delpo backhand all night.
Del Potro played better off his serve in the second dropping just 10 points when he had the ball and he attacked the Murray second serve. But with del Potro looking weary, Murray cruised in the third.
With this looking bleak, somehow, del Potro found renewed life in fourth in which breaks were traded like backhands, totaling seven breaks in what would be the final set.
Del Potro, though, got the better end of the deal early as the pressure mounted for both, and Murray began to fall apart. However, Delpo couldn’t serve it out the set at 5-4. And then Murray broke again at 5-6 to take the match.
“I know tonight’s one of the hardest matches that I’ve had to play for a big, big title,” said Murray. “I think, you know, the US Open final I played against Novak when I won my first slam was very hard. But tonight I found really difficult.”
“Emotionally it was tough,” he added. “Physically, it was hard. There were so many ups and downs in the match. It was one of the toughest matches that I’ve played to win a big event, for sure.”
The win adds to Murray’s season which has already seen him take Wimbledon, reach the finals of both the Australian and the French and win Rome. And he’s now on a personal-best 18-match winning streak heading to Cincinnati.
Murray finished with 10 aces, 6 double faults with 46 winners and 44 unforced and was 9/23 on break points.
“I’m happy that I’m still here competing for the biggest events,” Murray said. “I’ll try and keep going. Who knows about Tokyo. But if I’m still playing in four years, when I’m 33, I don’t imagine I’ll be playing the same level as now. I’ll try and enjoy tonight’s win.”
Del Potro had 20 forehand winners of his 39 total, but made 38 unforced errors and by the end of the match his top serving speeds were lower than Murray’s.
After a busy week, he also was trying to become just the second player to ever beat Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Murray in the same event after Roger Federer did it at the 2010 London finals. But in defeat, the former US Open champion proved he’s a threat again.
“This will be for the rest of my life on my mind,” del Potro said. “I never thought something like that at the beginning of the tournament. It’s even bigger, like a dream. Now I got a silver medal, which means a gold for me. I cannot believe I will bring another medal for my country.”
Murray began the Olympics carrying the flag for Great Britain. He finished watching it being raised in victory.
— judy murray (@JudyMurray) August 15, 2016
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