Juan Martin del Potro secured a place in the Olympic semi finals today, after a straight sets win over Japan’s Kei Nishikori. Seeded 15th, Nishikori looked strong at points during the encounter but was unable to conjure up the sparkling form that saw him knock out Spain’s David Ferrer in the previous round.
Del Potro broke Nishikori’s serve early in the first set, only for Nishikori to reply immediately with a break of his own. The stage was set for a mammoth eighth game which saw Nishikori save two break points before succumbing to the third. Del Potro eventually took the set 6-4.
If Del Potro thought Nishikori was tenacious in the first set, nothing could have prepared him for the second. Another exchange of breaks set up a tie-break which Del Potro eventually won.
Game, set and match; 6-4 7-6. Del Potro will be relieved to have emerged from that encounter unscathed. His reward? A semi-final clash with Roger Federer.