Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray has bemoaned his inconsistency within matches after bowing out of the Winston-Salem Open in the second round to Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday.

The 13th seeded American triumphed in one hour and 49 minutes over the Scot, who entered the event as a wildcard and had beaten lucky loser Noah Rubin in the first round.

Tiafoe won 7-6 (7-4) 6-3, saving three set points in the first set, before winning the tiebreak and taking command in the second.

Murray sent down 10 aces across the match but struggled on his second serve and on return.

"The positive thing is that I moved well and served well but my level is up and down with no real consistency," Murray said after the match in North Carolina.

"There are moments in matches where I play well and then I make mistakes or miss returns. I wish I wasn't doing that.

"My level is around 50 or 60 in the world. It's frustrating because if wasn't moving great and not feeling good physically then I would be a bit easier on myself. But when I'm winning a low percentage of second-serve points, that's got nothing to do with the physical side of things."

Sixth seed Marin Cilic also bowed out, losing 4-6 7-5 6-4 to Belarussian Ilya Ivashka, who sent down 16-13 aces.

Fifth seed Alexander Bublik was also bundled out, going down 6-2 7-6 (7-5) to Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori.

Top seed Pablo Carreno Busta dropped a set but edged past Kwon Soon-Woo 6-3 3-6 6-4.

British third seed Dan Evans came from behind to beat Lucas Pouille, while fourth seed Marton Fucsovics won in straight sets over Yosuke Watanuki.

Andy Murray was left in "the strangest situation" he has experienced before a tour match at the Winston-Salem Open following Nick Kyrgios' withdrawal.

Murray had been due to face Kyrgios in an enticing first-round clash in North Carolina, only for the Australian to pull out due to a knee issue.

Former world number one Murray was then drawn against a lucky loser from qualifying, which had only been completed shortly before Murray was due to go on court on Sunday.

The tight turnaround prompted Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Max Purcell to decline the chance to take on Murray, while another option, Yosuke Watanuki, ended up with a direct path to the main draw.

Home hope Noah Rubin, who played his college tennis at the same venue having competed for Wake Forest University, stepped in shortly after his qualifying defeat to Lucas Pouille.

Despite Rubin's best efforts, the challenge proved too much for him as Murray swept to a 6-2 6-0 win, capping a bizarre evening for the three-time grand slam champion.

"It is, by far, the strangest situation I've ever been in before a match on tour," said Murray. "It's pretty rare that you experience something new when you're 17 years into your career.

"I sort of knew at 6:15 that Nick wasn't going to play, but the qualifying was still going on. I was told that if I played a lucky loser, I would play this evening, but if I played against a qualifier the match would be suspended until tomorrow [Monday].

"Then I was told that I drew a lucky loser and I was going to be playing this evening against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, that was like 15-20 minutes after the last qualifying match finished, then Herbert decided he didn't want to play.

"Then they went down the list and none of them, Purcell and Watanuki, they didn't want to play either. And Rubin, who had obviously just finished playing 20 minutes beforehand said, 'yeah I'll do it. I'll play'.

"I kind of had like three opponents in the space of 45 minutes, I was warming up for the match to start at seven and then stopped and then prepared to play Herbert then he didn't want to play then Noah obviously decided but he'd just finished so it was a break and it was just very, very odd sort of 45 minutes, an hour before we went on."

Murray is due to face 13th seed Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

Andy Murray looked sharp in his first singles match since Wimbledon, rolling to a straight-sets win over Richard Gasquet at the Western and Southern Open. 

Murray defeated the veteran Frenchman 6-4 6-4 on a rainy opening day in Cincinnati, capitalising on a strong service game to advance. 

Murray had 14 aces to just two double faults and won 81 per cent of points on his first serve while saving four of the five break points he faced. 

A two-time champion at the ATP 1000 event, he will face the winner of Tuesday's match between Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the second round. 

Two players who shared a birthday Monday also prevailed on their big day. 

On the day he turned 20, 11th seed Jannik Sinner defeated Federico Delbonis 6-2 7-5, while 10th seed Diego Schwartzman had to work a bit harder on his 28th birthday to down Daneil Evans 6-2 4-6 6-3. 

Elsewhere, 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (7-0) 6-3, while 14th seed Alex de Minaur rallied to down Filip Krajinovic 0-6 6-4 6-4. 

Fifteenth seed David Goffin fell 6-3 6-3 to Guido Pella in the only seeded upset of the day. 

Other winners Monday included Karen Khachanov, Fabio Fognini, Lloyd Harris, Dominik Koepfer, Benoit Paire, Albert Ramos Vinolas and Mackenzie McDonald. 

Among those set to play their opening matches Tuesday are third seed Alexander Zverev, who will face Harris, and sixth seed Denis Shapovalov, who plays Paire. 

Former world number one Andy Murray has been handed a place in the main draw of the US Open after Stanislas Wawrinka pulled out.

Murray, the 2012 champion at Flushing Meadows, reached the second round of the event last year, which was won by Dominic Thiem.

The 34-year-old, who competed in the men's doubles at the Tokyo Olympics, has only played eight Tour-level matches in 2021. He was handed a wildcard for Wimbledon, where he lost in the third round to Denis Shapovalov.

Novak Djokovic is due to lead a strong men's field for the tournament in August, which will be played in front of capacity crowds.

The world number one is seeking to become the first man to win all four major championships in the same year since Rod Laver in 1969.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who are tied with Djokovic on 20 grand slam singles titles, are also set to play.

Wawrinka, himself a champion in New York in 2016, is still recovering from his second foot surgery of the year.

Daniil Medvedev did not take kindly to a question over the controversy surrounding Russian athletes at the Tokyo Olympics after he battled through sweltering conditions to reach the quarter-finals.

Medvedev beat Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-2 3-6 6-2 on Wednesday in a match that was paused for 10 minutes due to on-court temperatures reaching 31 degrees Celsius, with humidity then adding to that.

The world number two had to receive medical attention on two occasions before he prevailed to tee up a last-eight tie with Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain.

Top seed Novak Djokovic continued his march towards the medal matches with a routine win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, though in the doubles, Andy Murray's hopes of winning a historic fourth Olympic prize were shattered.

 

MEDVDEV'S TEMPER FRAYS IN THE HEAT

It had already been a stressful day for Medvedev. The 25-year-old replied "I can finish the match but I can die. If I die, are you going to be responsible?" when asked by chair umpire Carlos Ramos whether he could carry on playing against Fognini following two medical timeouts. 

Medvedev's temper then boiled over in the media mixed zone when he was questioned over the contentious nature of Russian athletes competing at the Games.

The Russian flag is not represented in Tokyo due to sanctions against the country for state-sponsored doping offences. Russia is suspended from competing in global sporting events for two years – a ban that was reduced from an initial four-year punishment. Instead, athletes are competing under the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).

Medvedev was asked if he feels the Russian athletes are "carrying a stigma of cheaters".

Seemingly misunderstanding the question, Medvedev hardly held back in his reaction, saying: "That's the first time in my life I’m not gonna answer a question, man. And you should be embarrassed of yourself."

Before leaving the room, Medvedev subsequently told the press officer: "I think you should [remove] him from either the Olympic Games, either the tennis tournament. I don't wanna see him again in my interviews. Thanks."

MURRAY'S PARIS PARTICIPATION IN DOUBT

There was to be no fairytale title tilt for former world number one Murray. He won gold in the singles in London and Rio, and also managed a silver medal at the 2012 Games in the mixed doubles, but he and Joe Sailsbury suffered a defeat to Croatian pair Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig in the quarter-finals.

The British pair won the first set but failed to make their advantage count, with Croatia's duo coming back to win 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 10-7.

Murray will be 37 by the time the Paris Games come around, and as he continues to carefully manage his return from hip surgery, the Scot could well have made his Olympic farewell.

"I don't know. I don't know if I'll get the opportunity to play [in the Olympics] again," he conceded.

"I love every minute of playing the Olympics. I wish that today would have gone differently. I had another chance with Joe to win a medal. We were so close and that is just disappointing. There was some stuff I wish I could have done at the end of the match to try and help out more. But yeah, very disappointing."

MIXED BAG FOR TSITSIPAS

While Medvedev, Djokovic and Alexander Zverev all progressed into the last eight in the singles, there was no place for Stefanos Tsitsipas, whose hopes were ended by Ugo Humbert.

The Greek world number four suffered a seemingly innocuous leg injury in the second set tie-break and failed to recover in the decider as Frenchman Humbert claimed the biggest win of his career.

However, Tsitsipas was swiftly back on court to play in the mixed doubles alongside partner Maria Sakkari, and the duo claimed a comfortable 6-3 6-4 victory over Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Asked after that win to discuss what went wrong in his earlier defeat, Tsitsipas replied: "I figured out a few things later during the match, like really, really late. 

"I think if I've had the same mindset or the same attitude, same vision that I had towards the very end of the match, I think things would have gone much, much smoother and better for me. It's something that I learned."

He also confirmed his injury was "nothing serious."

DJOKOVIC ON A ROLL

As expected, Djokovic is one win away from a shot at a medal in the singles, and he then followed up his victory over Davidovich Fokina by combining with Nina Stojanovic in the mixed doubles.

The Serbian pair beat Marcelo Melo and Luisa Stefani of Brazil 6-3 6-4 in just 70 minutes to book their place in the next round.

Djokovic will have the host nation against him in his next match, however, as he takes on Kei Nishikori, who is Japan's only hope of a singles medal after Naomi Osaka's exit.

Daniil Medvedev told the chair umpire "I can finish the match but I can die" as he struggled with the suffocating heat at Tokyo 2020.

A 6-2 3-6 6-2 win over Fabio Fognini on Wednesday was enough to see Medvedev through to the last eight at Ariake Tennis Park.

But the world number two struggled with 72 per cent humidity that meant an already hot 31 degrees Celsius felt like 37 degrees Celsius on the heat index.

An extreme heat rule meant Medvedev and Fognini were allowed to leave the court for 10 minutes at one stage of the contest.

Medvedev was in visible discomfort before serving, between points and at changeovers. 

He had two medical timeouts before being asked by the chair umpire Carlos Ramos whether he could continue.

"I can finish the match but I can die," the Russian replied to Ramos, per ESPN. "If I die, are you going to be responsible?"

After the match, Medvedev – who along with Novak Djokovic has been vocally calling for matches to start later in the day to counteract the heat – described his struggles.

He said: "Even from the first set, I didn't feel good enough with my breathing. That's why I called the physio. I felt like my diaphragm had blocked. 

"I couldn't breathe properly. I think it was the most humid day we have had so far.

"Then, on the second set, I just had darkness in my eyes, like between every point I didn't know what to do to feel better. 

"I was bending over, and I couldn't get my breathing together. I was ready to just fall down on the court.  

"I knew there was a 10-minute break. So I went under the cold, freezing shower.

"When you have such a change of temperature and go out on the hot court, you can fully cramp, and it finishes the match for you, either that or you feel better. I was lucky I felt better.

"I don't care too much [about closing the roof], to be honest because I don't know if they have AC [air-conditioning]. 

"It can be actually more humid and hot when they close it, but they should start the matches later. I said it in the first round, and I'll continue saying it.

"All the players I know said this is not normal to start at 11am [local time]. 

"[Djokovic] went to ITF and talked to them, and they gave him reasons - I heard maybe from tomorrow they're going to change it, but let's see."

Following the Medvedev match, organisers were quoted as saying they were "considering" making a change, starting from Thursday's action.

Paula Badosa also struggled on Wednesday and ultimately had to leave the court in a wheelchair after retiring with heatstroke from her quarter-final match against Marketa Vondrousova. 

The Spaniard also withdrew from her mixed doubles match later alongside Pablo Carreno Busta, ending their hopes.

Carreno Busta is still in the singles and will face Medvedev next.

Vondrousova, who had won the first set before her opponent withdrew, said: "It was a big struggle from the beginning because I warmed up in the morning and I felt it was really hot and humid.

"Also, I was a bit tired from Monday because I had doubles too. But I knew [Badosa] had [played singles and doubles] too. 

"I felt like we both were struggling from the beginning. I was just thinking, you have to stay there mentally, just fight for every point and just see what happens."

Andy Murray conceded he was hurting after going down to a narrow defeat in the men's doubles quarter-finals at Tokyo 2020 but insisted he did not regret prioritising the competition over the singles.

Team GB duo Murray and Joe Salisbury suffered a heart-breaking loss to Croatian pair Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig at Ariake Tennis Park on Wednesday.

They won the first set but Cilic and Dodig ultimately prevailed 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 10-7, with Murray rueing how close he and Salisbury had come to a semi-final berth that would have guaranteed him a shot at a medal.

Despite falling just short, the two-time Wimbledon winner insisted he did not regret pulling out of the singles tournament to focus on the doubles as he manages a quad injury.

Instead, the singles gold medallist in London and Rio was only looking back to scrutinise some of the decisive points that went against his team.

"No, I don't regret that decision," Murray said. "I think we put ourselves in a really good position to win and do well here. 

"This is the one, it hurts a lot, losing that one, because you get through it, and you get two matches for a medal. 

"We were just so close. I just wish I could have done some stuff differently at the end of the match, so I regret that, not the decision [not] to play singles."

Tokyo could be the last Olympics for Murray, who has had a torrid time with injuries and will be 37 when Paris 2024 comes around.

"Yeah it is just hard – I hate losing," he said when asked about the potential of it being his last Games.

"I don't know if I’ll get the opportunity to play again, I wanted to try and win a medal with Joe. 

"It is difficult to take, it is disappointing – you have regrets and think about points and things you should have done differently. 

"I have always loved team sports. I love being a part of the Olympics as I am sure Joe would say. 

"It is his first time, so I am sure he will be hungry to come back and do more, and do better next time. 

"I know all the tennis players on our team have really enjoyed it and loved the experience, I just wish we could have done better."

Murray added that his leg "felt fine" during the loss, but would monitor how his injury heals before deciding whether he will be able to play the US Open, which starts at the end of August.

Ash Barty has followed up her shock women's singles defeat by crashing out of the women's doubles after an epic clash with Czech pair Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.

World number one Barty was stunned in the first round of the women's singles on Sunday by Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo but teamed up with Storm Sanders in the doubles, with the Australian pair reaching the quarter-finals.

However, Krejcikova and Siniakova proved too strong in a three-set thriller, winning 3-6 6-4 10-7.

"You never quite have their measure,” Barty said. "It's disappointing but there's only a couple of points in that match, here and there and it's a different result.

"We did everything right today but just weren't able to win those big points when it mattered most."

Barty's medal hopes are now entirely focused on the mixed doubles, where she has partnered with John Peers.

Andy Murray's bid to become the first male to win four Olympic tennis medals ended with defeat to Croatia's Marin Cilic and Ivan Dogic in the men's doubles.

Murray, teaming up with Joe Salisbury, went down in two hours and 18 minutes after also winning the first set. The Croatian pair won 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 10-7.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist had withdrawn from the men's singles on Sunday due to a right quad injury, preferring to focus on playing doubles. TeamGB have not fielded a mixed doubles team.

 

TITMUS DOUBLES UP, LEDECKY LIFTS FOR GOLD

Ariarne Titmus backed up her women's 400m freestyle gold medal from Monday with another triumph, getting the better of rival Katie Ledecky to win the 200m free.

The 20-year-old Australian won the final ahead of Hong Kong's Siobhan Bernadette Haughey and Canada's Penny Oleksiak, while Ledecky finished back in fifth.

Ledecky would claim her sixth Olympic gold medal, triumphing in the women's 1500m free, with the US claiming a rare one-two as Erica Sullivan grabbed the silver ahead of Germany's Sarah Kohler.

After being beaten twice by Titmus earlier in the meet, Ledecky said: "I approach each race with a belief in myself. It's the attitude I've always had that's why I've been so successful. Anything can happen, [the attitude I go in with is] I can beat the world record in this race. 

Japan's Yui Ohashi won the women's 200m individual medley, Hungarian favourite Kristof Milak powered to victory in the men's 200m butterfly and Great Britain triumphed in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay.

 

STEERING ERROR COSTS GB IN ROWING

Australia claimed two gold medals in the rowing at Sea Forest Waterway as Great Britain were left to lament a wayward finish in the men's four final.

Australian quartet Alexander Purnell, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves and Alexander Hill won in 5:42:76 ahead of Romania and Italy who claimed silver and bronze respectively.

Italy's late charge almost saw a collision with Great Britain, who finished in fourth, after veering towards the neighbouring Italian boat, narrowly avoiding a clash of oars.

GB's Oliver Cook, who steered the men's coxless four, told BBC Sport: "I do (have the steering). I need to diagnose it but I feel I screwed up a bit and as I was closing in at the end and taking big strokes at the end going for the line I forgot the steering and that’s what cost us to be honest, cost us a medal."

Australia also won the women's four narrowly ahead of the Netherlands by 0:34 seconds, with Ireland claiming the bronze more than five seconds back.

Romania secured its first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics by winning the women's double sculls final, while France triumphed in the men's equivalent.

The Netherlands and China triumphed in the men's and women's quadruple sculls finals respectively.

 

RADRADRA DREAMING OF FIJI SEVENS GOLD

New Zealand will take on 2016 gold medalists Fiji in the final of the men's rugby sevens on Wednesday evening.

Fiji went through to the gold medal match with a 26-14 triumph over Argentina, who will take on Great Britain for bronze.

New Zealand were too strong for the British, winning 29-7 in their semi-final, with two tries each to captain Scott Curry and Regan Ware.

Former NRL star Semi Radradra, who plays for Fiji after switching codes in 2017 and scored a try against Argentina, said: "Playing in the Olympics is a blessing for me. I never knew I would be here.

"I think it is everyone's highlight to win a gold medal in the Olympics. That is our aim and we try to give back to our people at home."

USA RESTORES CONFIDENCE IN BASKETBALL

Team USA restored some confidence following their first-up loss to France with a comprehensive 120-66 thrashing of Iran in men's basketball.

USA played fast throughout, wasting no time in offense, with Damian Lillard top scoring with 21 points, all from beyond the arc.

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine had eight assists along with his 13 points while Devin Booker, who played in the NBA Finals last week, scored 16 points and had five rebounds and three steals.

USA head coach Gregg Popovich rotated his roster on and off the court, sharing minutes, as hos team piled on 38 points in the last quarter to round out a comprehensive victory.

In Group B, Germany defeated Nigeria 99-92 despite Jordan Nowra's 33-point haul.

Andy Murray said the quad injury that ruled him out of defending his men's singles title at Tokyo 2020 has not been troubling him in matches, but his withdrawal was due to concerns over results showing up in scans.

The Olympic champion in 2012 and 2016 opted to pull out of the singles prior to his scheduled first-round showdown against Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday. 

Instead, Murray decided to continue in the doubles alongside Joe Salisbury, where the pair made the quarter-finals on Tuesday by beating German duo Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz 6-2 7-6 (7-2).

It means Murray remains on track for a third straight Olympic gold and he offered a bit of insight behind his decision not to play in the singles.

"I've had a bit of an issue with my quad," he said.

"It's actually not really been causing me many issues on the court like in practice or anything, there was just some stuff showing on the scans that made all the medical team a bit wary about it.

 

"I said to Joe that if he picked me to play doubles with him then I'd prioritise the doubles over the singles if I had any physical issues and that was the case. 

"It's disappointing for me because I do feel like I've been playing well, and I've loved the Olympics and I would've liked the opportunity to defend my title. 

"But that wasn't to be and now all the focus and energy goes towards the doubles and to try our best to get a medal there."

Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig await Murray and Salisbury in the last eight.

Stefanos Tsitsipas is taking inspiration from the grandfather he has never met after battling through to round two of the men's singles at Tokyo 2020.

Alexander Zverev had an altogether more comfortable progression at Ariake Tennis Park, while home favourite Kei Nishikori earned an impressive upset win.

Felix Auger-Aliassime was unable to make the most of two-time defending champion Andy Murray's withdrawal, but it was a good day for Hubert Hurkacz. 

Here's the pick of the action from day two of the men's singles.

 

TSITSIPAS OUT TO EMULATE GRANDFATHER

Greek ace Tsitsipas, a French Open finalist this year, had to dig deep for a three-set win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Should he manage to win gold in the Japanese capital he would be matching the feat of his grandfather, who won the football competition representing the Soviet Union in 1956.

"I've never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it," he said. "He kind of inspires me in a way. I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I'm proud of him. 

"It's something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I'm happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics."

ZVEREV LOVING OLYMPICS EXPERIENCE

Fourth seed Zverev coasted past Lu Yen-hsun 6-1 6-3 and spoke of how much he is enjoying being around other German athletes.

"Normally you don't have those guys around that much, you have your friends, of course you have people that are around you, but you don't sleep in the same room as them," he said.

"Yes it is very different but in a way very enjoyable. The Olympics are once every four years, and it’s five years now, so I think everybody is enjoying it and everyone is having the best time that they can."

Nishikori is playing at a fourth Olympics and upset fifth seed Andrey Rublev 6-3 6-4. For the 31-year-old the motivation is simple.

"It's [playing in Japan] something I always dreamed of when I was little," he said. 

"Especially now, with the Covid situation, if I can win as many as I can, I think it will bring better news, that's something I'm trying to do this week."

AUGER-ALIASSIME FAILS TO MAKE MOST OF MURRAY ABSENCE

Auger-Aliassime was scheduled to face Murray before the Team GB star pulled out with a quad issue and will instead focus on doubles.

The Canadian was felled by Murray's replacement Max Purcell, though, the Australian winning 6-4 7-6 (7-2).

Fellow seed Gael Monfils also crashed out but Hurkacz was a 6-2 6-4 victor over Luke Saville, while Diego Schwartzman also made it through.

Andy Murray's chances of winning a third straight Olympics title in the men's singles have been dashed by a quad strain.

The Team GB star was champion at London 2012 and Rio 2016, becoming the first player to ever defend a singles title in tennis.

Murray was due to start his campaign against Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday but after consulting with medical staff he was told not to compete in both the singles and doubles.

The three-time grand slam winner started his doubles campaign alongside Joe Salisbury with an upset win over second seeds Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert on Saturday.

Murray will continue his quest for a third Olympics gold alongside Salisbury.

"I am really disappointed at having to withdraw but the medical staff have advised me against playing in both events," Murray said via a Team GB news release.

"So, I have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the singles and focus on playing doubles with Joe."

Murray was considered an outsider for singles success in Tokyo having been blighted by injuries in recent years.

His absence is a blow to a men's singles event already missing the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, though.

World number one Novak Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite to win gold. The Serbian has already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon in 2021 and is chasing Olympic gold and the US open to become just the second player after Steffi Graf to complete the coveted 'Golden Slam'.

Richard Carapaz and the rest of Ecuador are "over the moon" after his victory in the men's cycling road race on Saturday.

Carapaz – who finished third in the general classification of the Tour de France earlier this month – crossed the finish line on the Fuji speedway well over a minute ahead of his nearest rivals to clinch Ecuador's second Olympic gold medal.

Meanwhile in the tennis, Andy Murray, who clinched gold in the singles at the 2012 and 2016 Games, started strongly with his doubles partner Joe Salisbury, as Team GB overcame French favourites Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

There was a shock for 2008 gold medallist Phil Dalhausser, as he and fellow American Nick Lucena fell foul of Dutch duo Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer, while Naohisa Takato won Japan's first gold of the Games.

 

CARAPAZ CLAIMS RARE ECUADOR TRIUMPH

Carapaz came close in Le Tour, but ultimately could not match the power of Tadej Pogacar, who defended his title in cycling's prime road race.

Yet on the slopes of Mount Fuji, the South American came up with the goods to deliver a long-awaited success for Ecuador.

"My country is over the moon right now. It's the second Olympic medal in the history of my country," he told a news conference after his success, with Tour champion Pogacar claiming bronze behind Belgium's Wout Van Aert.

"The last medal that we won was 25 years ago, so it's a very special moment. It's the first medal in cycling, and cycling is a big sport in my country."

Carapaz's triumph came as good news for Geraint Thomas, who crashed out of the race after colliding with his British team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart.

"Couldn't be happier for Richard Carapaz," tweeted Thomas – the Ecuadorian's fellow INEOS Grenadiers rider. "To finish on the podium at the Tour and win gold a week later is just incredible. Enjoy it mate. King of Ecuador."

MURRAY STARTS STRONG

It has been a long comeback trail for Murray, who was at the top of his game when he won his second Olympic gold medal back in 2016.

He faces a stern test in the singles on Sunday, when he goes up against Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime, and while a defence of that win may be unlikely, he and Salisbury made good progress in the doubles.

Murray was a silver medallist in the mixed doubles at the London Games, and along with Salisbury had too much for second seeds Mahut and Herbert, with the pair needing just 75 minutes to win 6-3 6-2.

"I think we have the potential to be a really good team," said Murray. "We were well deserved winners today – we created lots of chances, but not every doubles match is like that.

"If we keep the same sort of attitude and everything, prepare diligently, I think we've got a chance of doing well."

Murray's younger brother Jamie also enjoyed a fine start, as he and Neal Skupski came from behind to beat Argentina's Andres Molteni and Horacio Zeballos in a final-set tie-break.

TAKATO GETS JAPAN UP AND RUNNING

Naohisa Takato won Japan's first gold medal of the Tokyo Games, as he triumphed in the men's under-60kg judo final against Yang Yung-wei of Taiwan.

Takato, a three-time world champion and a bronze medallist in Rio, claimed a fitting victory for Japan in a sport that originated in the country, with the event taking place at the famous Nippon Budokan venue.

He had to beat Yeldos Smetov of Kazakhstan in a gruelling semi-final. Smetov shared the bronze medal with France’s Luka Mkheidze.

A shock earlier in the day saw Robert Mshvidobadze drop out in the last 16.

DALHAUSSER'S STRUGGLES CONTINUE, NO JOY FOR SETO

It has been a difficult start to the Games for Beijing beach volleyball champion Dalhausser, who had to quarantine after he was deemed a contact of Taylor Crabb. He was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test, which has dented the United States' hopes.

Dalhausser could only train with Lucena on two occasions prior to Saturday's meeting with Meeuwsen and Brouwer and the lack of sharpness told as the Dutch prevailed 21-17 21-18 at the Shiokaze Park arena.

There was also no joy for home favourite Daiya Seto. The Japanese swimmer, who won a bronze medal in 2016, had been tipped to shine in the men's 400m individual medley, yet failed to qualify for the final as he finished ninth in the heat.

"In Rio I went out too fast [in the prelim] and didn't recover for the final. In the last 100 [today] I didn't let it all out. It was a misjudgement. The pressure wasn't too much," Seto said afterwards.

"I have the 200m butterfly and 200IM. I'll just forget what happened and focus on my events."

Daniil Medvedev says it is a "joke" that players do not have longer at changeovers but will not "cry about the heat" after coming through his Tokyo 2020 opener, while Novak Djokovic started at a canter as he looks to add the next step of a Golden Slam.

Representing the Russian Olympic Committee, Medvedev appeared fatigued at times in his 6-4 7-6 (10-8) triumph over Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik at the Ariake Tennis Park.

The conditions in the Japanese capital were sweltering on Saturday but Novak Djokovic was able to keep his cool in coasting to a 6-2 6-2 win against Hugo Dellien.

MEDVEDEV CALLS FOR MORE TIME

Medvedev, who saved three of four break points and now has a 3-0 head-to-head record over Bublik, was pretty pointed about what he feels should be done about the heat.

"Like they do in Mexico, the matches maybe should start at six (pm) because the heat actually gets much, much lighter. We all try to practise at six," said Olympics debutant Medvedev, who next plays Sumit Nagal.

"The fact that we have only one minute between changeovers is a joke. If you ask, let's say 200 tennis players that are here, I think 195 will tell you that one minute is a joke. It should be 1:30.

"But you have to play, that's the Olympics, you go for the medal. You're not here to cry about the heat. It was really tough for both of us. We talked about this after the match on the court. It was unbelievably hot. But you need to get through it."

Fellow Russian athlete Aslan Karatsev (11) defeated Tommy Paul 6-3 6-2 to set up a meeting with Jeremy Chardy, while Lorenzo Sonego (13), Ugo Humbert (14), Fabio Fognini (15) and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (16) all progressed.

 

DJOKOVIC UP AND RUNNING

Since winning bronze in Beijing 13 years ago, Djokovic has not had the best of luck at the Olympics – losing in 2012 and 2016 to Juan Martin del Potro on both occasions.

But with a host of big hitters from the ATP absent – including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite in Tokyo.

Only Steffi Graf in 1988 from either the WTA or ATP Tour has ever completed a sweep of all four slams and an Olympic gold in a calendar year, and Djokovic needs Olympic gold and victory at the US Open to match the feat.

He needed just 61 minutes here to beat Dellien of Bolivia.

MURRAY SCORES UPSET DOUBLES WIN

Andy Murray is the two-time defending men's singles champion in Tokyo, but struggles with injuries mean it would take a herculean effort to make it three in a row.

But he is also representing Great Britain in the doubles and together with Joe Salisbury upset French second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-3 6-2 in their first time competing with one another.

Murray is not looking too far ahead, though, saying: "You take one match at a time, you know, so a lot of the players here are really motivated to play for their country. 

"This is such a rare opportunity for all of us and I think we all want to do well. So, yeah, just take it one match at a time."

Nina Christen of Switzerland finished 16th in the 10-metre air rifle at the Rio Olympics, but she became a footnote to history five years later as the first athlete to secure a medal at Tokyo 2020.

The 27-year-old locked up the bronze medal several minutes before China's Yang Qian beat Anastasiia Galashina of the Russian Olympic Committee to take gold in the first medal event of the Games.

As soon as she was eliminated from contention for the final two, Christen flashed a smile and waved, knowing she had at least won a spot on the podium this time – no small feat on this stage.

After the first medal ceremony of the Tokyo Games, she spoke about the pressure as the competition entered the final rounds.

"You just try to not reach your head out for the medal before you have the medal," Christen said. "That is the worst thing you could do. Having in your mind, 'Oh I could win a medal, or I could be eighth which would be a failure'.

"So you just try not to think about both of them, you just try and think about what your job is like breathing, holding, aiming, balance, triggering, and then follow through.

"It helps to not think about what is behind you and obviously there are a lot of cameras and a lot of people. And it would be even more if COVID would not have hit. So yeah that is the thing you have to do, otherwise you would just crack."

 

Sixth seed Swiatek rolls in tennis opener

Two seeded players enjoyed easy victories in the women's singles draw as play began at the Ariake Tennis Park.

Sixth-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland, the 2020 French Open champion, cruised past Germany's Mona Barthel 6-2 6-2 to open her first Olympics.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 11th seed representing the Russian Olympic Committee, had an even easier time in a 6-0 6-1 rout of Italy's Sara Errani.

Pavlyuchenkova will face Germany's Anna-Lena Friedsam, who upset Great Britain's Heather Watson 7-6 6-3 in another early match.

In doubles, there was an eye-catching result for Britain's Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury, who took out French second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, scoring a 6-3 6-2 victory.

 

Men's gymnastics gets under way

Nikita Nagornyy turned in the strongest showing in the opening group as men's gymnastics got under way.

Nagornyy, who won the all-around at the 2019 World Championships and was part of Russia's silver medal-winning team at Rio 2016, posted an 87.897 to lead subdivision one, which included gymnasts from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), China, Ukraine and Spain along with individuals from other nations.

But his showing was not enough to put the Russians on top, as China earned the top score in the group with a 262.061 to the ROC's 261.945. The top eight ranked teams qualify for the team final, with two subdivisions still to compete Saturday.

"I don't think our team was really good today, but we made our best effort," Nagronyy said. "We have a lot to do."

 

Brazilians start strongly on the beach

Brazil's two returning beach volleyball medallists are off to a strong start five years later.

Alison Cerutti won gold in Rio and is teamed with new partner Alvaro Morais Filho for Tokyo. They won their opening match 2-0 against Argentina's Nicolas Capogrosso and Julian Amado Azaad.

On the women's side, Rio silver medallist Agatha Bednarczuk, also with a new partner in Eduarda Santos Lisboa, won by the same score against Ana Gallay and Fernanda Pereyra of Argentina.

While she was happy to advance, Agatha found the difference between Rio's raucous crowds and Tokyo's COVID-driven quiet jarring.

"It's so different. In Brazil we have the biggest support there. Many, many people cheering for us, and here, it's silence," she said.

"Here we need to put our emotion (aside) because we don't receive the emotion from the people. For me, this is very important because I like to play with emotions."

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