Murray in hurry to make last-16
RIO DE JANEIRO: Defending champion Andy Murray raced into the Olympic Games third round Tuesday, blitzing close friend Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-3, 6-1.
World number two Murray is looking to make the most of the shock opening round exit of top seed Novak Djokovic and become the first man to win two singles golds.
The 29-year-old Wimbledon champion, who has not lost to Monaco in six years, will face France’s Benoit Paire, the 16th seed, or Fabio Fognini of Italy for a quarter-final spot.
Murray was hardly troubled by Monaco on centre court.
The Argentine never fully recovered from a fall in the second game of the opening set where he aggravated a long-standing hip injury.
Murray reeled off five games against the world number 108 and was soon 4-0 up in the second set before going on to claim victory in just 69 minutes.
American seventh seed Madison Keys hailed Serena Williams for inspiring her to reach the quarter-finals.
Keys, 21, was the first woman into the last-eight thanks to a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over gritty Spaniard, Carla Suarez Navarro.
But she gave credit to 22-time Slam winner Williams, the top seed in Rio and defending Olympic champion.
“Hey, I’m happy to be on the same team as Serena Williams, it’s thanks to her that I was able to get my ranking up and qualify,” said Keys.
Keys, who made the Australian Open semi-finals in January, will face either Italy’s Sara Errani or promising Daria Kasatkina of Russia for a place in the last four.
Later Tuesday, 2008 champion Rafael Nadal will play his fourth and fifth matches in three days.
First, the third seeded Spaniard takes on Italy’s Andreas Seppi, boasting a 6-1 career lead.
Then, he will team up with Marc Lopez to face Oliver Marach and Alexander Peya for a place in the men’s doubles semi-finals.
Despite having not played a tournament for two months because of a wrist injury, the 30-year-old Nadal is piling on the workload in Rio.
He’s also signed up for mixed doubles with Garbine Muguruza and they start their campaign on Wednesday.
Williams continues her assault on a fifth career Olympic gold when she faces Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.
The 34-year-old American has won all four meetings against Svitolina including at this year’s French Open where she gave up just two games.
Second seed Angelique Kerber faces Australia’s 2011 US Open winner Samantha Stosur while third seeded Muguruza takes on Monica Puig of Puerto Rico.