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NEWS FEATURE Murray puts end to upset-riddled tennis contest at Rio Olympics By Alexandra Mayer-Hohdahl, dpa

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The Rio Olympics delivered lots of heartbreak on the tennis court, much of it involving top-seeded players. But Andy Murray managed to buck the trend in his grueling match for gold.

Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - When Andy Murray took to the Olympic tennis court in Rio on Sunday, the odds were stacked well in his favour. But if the competitions up until then were any indication, the British star was going to have his work cut out for him.

The Rio Olympics delivered one high-profile upset after another over the eight days of tennis matches that culminated Sunday with Murray‘s final showdown with Argentina‘s Juan Martin del Potro.

First, the iconic Williams sisters crashed out in the first round of Olympic women‘s doubles, ending their dream of a fourth straight gold medal - the first Olympic doubles defeat for the sister act which had won 15 matches in a row en route to gold in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

Serena Williams did not make it anywhere near a medals podium in Rio. Venus Williams got one chance at gold in the mixed doubles on Sunday, but only managed to get silver.

"It‘s surreal that I even came out with any hardware at all, it‘s so well contested here," she said.

After the Williams sister came an even bigger shocker: world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia being left in tears after losing against del Potro.

"No doubt this is one of the toughest losses in my life and in my career," Djokovic said. "It‘s not the first or the last time I am losing a tennis match. But the Olympic Games, yeah, it‘s completely different."

Del Potro went on to take down Spanish great Rafael Nadal en route to the final, while on the women‘s side, Puerto Rico‘s world number 34 Monica Puig upset Germany‘s Angelique Kerber to take Olympic gold.

Kerber had been hoping to become the first German Olympic tennis champion since Steffi Graf in 1988 and it took a few hours for her to find joy in her second-place finish.

"When I will look back in 10 or 20 years, I‘m sure that this silver medal will have a very special significance in my career," she told dpa on Sunday.

Then came the big final. Would the underdog del Potro be able to stop world number two Andy Murray in his tracks too?

The two men battled for more than four hours in a hard-fought match that brought them both to their limits, but in the end Murray emerged victorious and put an end to the Rio trend of top-seeded upsets.

"To finish here with a match like that, ... obviously it was very emotional," said Murray, who had kicked off the Rio Games by carrying his country‘s flag during the opening ceremony.

"[It] has been, you know, a buildup of emotions over the last 10 days or so," he added. "I‘m just very happy that I got over the line tonight."



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