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Murray closes in on gold
Andy Murray's dream to make more British sporting history was on the cusp of reality on Sunday as he went two sets up in the Olympic men's tennis singles final against Roger Federer.
Twenty-eight days after his heartbreaking Wimbledon defeat to the world number one, Murray struck first blood on Centre Court, breaking Federer twice to take the opener 6-2 before clinching the second 6-1 despite a fightback from the Swiss.
Already Great Britain's first Wimbledon men's singles finalist since 1938 and first at the Olympics since 1912, Murray was bidding to become their first gold medallist in the event since 1908.
However, 17-time grand slam winner Federer was in no mood to give up what could be his final chance to cap his own career with an Olympic singles title.
After battling to save two break points on his own serve in the opening game, Murray had a sniff on Federer's three games later but the Swiss simply thumped down an ace. Federer initially showed no sign of fatigue from Friday's record-breaking semi-final marathon against Juan Martin Del Potro but errors began to creep into his game and they told in game six.
Murray won a thrilling rally on his way to another two break points, and Federer netted a backhand on the second to gift him the break. Two booming aces then got Murray out of a sticky patch to consolidate before two brilliant backhands saw him break Federer again in style to take the set.
Federer's Wimbledon final fightback began in the second set but the one-way traffic continued when Murray won a sixth game in a row after winning another incredible rally. A net cord had helped the Scot to triple-break point, but his customary lapse in concentration arrived in a nailbiting next game which saw him survive six break points.
He would have faced a seventh but for a jaw-dropping running backhand that helped him complete a crucial hold, crucial because Federer amazingly blew a 40-15 lead in the next, a double-fault eventually handing Murray the double break.
And it was soon nine games in a row to the Scot, the Centre Court crowd more in shock than anything at what they were witnessing.
Federer finally stopped the rot in game seven and fashioned another break point as Murray served for the set but mistakes cost him again as his opponent clinched it 6-1 to move to within one set of the greatest triumph of his career.