Novak Djokovic smashed one racket and threw another into the stands on the way to losing his bronze medal match at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.

Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta beat the world number one 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 to finish third in men's singles.

The shock result followed a day on from Djokovic's hopes of a Golden Slam being crushed by defeat to Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals.

In the wake of his singles third-place match setback, Djokovic also pulled out of the mixed doubles bronze match, citing a left shoulder injury.

Having already clinched the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles, Djokovic was eyeing gold at the Games before heading to the US Open in August, aiming to land the five biggest prizes in tennis in the same season.

That has never been achieved in a calendar year by a man, and Djokovic could not even manage a consolation prize from his singles mission in Japan. How serious his injury is now remains to be seen.

After levelling the singles match by taking the second-set tie-break, Djokovic boiled over in the first game of the decider, firstly when flinging his racket several rows back from the middle of the court after Carreno Busta put away a volley at the net.

Djokovic picked another racket from his bag but petulantly demolished that against a net post after dropping the third game to slide 3-0 behind, receiving a warning from the umpire for that violent outburst.

His anger may have been explained by injury or by his disappointment on Friday, when, as well as losing to Zverev, Djokovic and Serbian team-mate Nina Stojanovic were beaten in the semi-finals of the mixed doubles.

Djokovic would have had one final shot at a medal from his Tokyo trip to come later on Saturday, with the 34-year-old and Stojanovic due to face Ash Barty and John Peers in another match for bronze.

However, shortly after his singles exit, it was announced that Djokovic had pulled out of that match, handing Barty and Peers the medal.

Amid the anger and frustration exhibited on court by Djokovic, it was a banner day for Carreno Busta, as Spain celebrated another tennis medal, having won at least one in eight of the last nine Olympics.

The 30-year-old fell to the court in joy at the end of the two hours and 47 minutes it took him to defeat the world number one, his elation a sharp contrast to the emotions of his beaten opponent.

Fifth seed Taylor Fritz defeated compatriot fourth seed Reilly Opelka in a three-set epic in the quarter-finals at the Atlanta Open on Friday.

Fritz, who reached last week's Los Cabos Open semi-finals and is currently ranked 36th in the world, edged out Opelka 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-4) in just under three hours.

The pair sent down a combined 48 aces, with Fritz claiming 25 of them, with all sets going to tiebreakers, with no breaks of serve.

Third seed Cameron Norrie was bundled out by Finnish world number 78 Emil Ruusuvuori in straight sets.

Norrie, who won last week's Los Cabos Open for his maiden ATP Tour title, was beaten 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 by the Finn.

Ruusuvuori will take on teenager Brandon Nakashima in the semi-finals, after the American – who was runner-up to Norrie in Los Cabos - beat Jordan Thompson 7-6 (7-5) 7-5.

Sixth seed John Isner sent down 30 aces as he got past Australian qualifier Chris O'Connell 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (3-7) 6-4.

World number one Novak Djokovic is desperate to rebound after his men's singles semi-final defeat, targeting "at least one medal" for Serbia with two bronze medal matches on Saturday.

Djokovic, chasing an elusive Golden Grand Slam, went down in three sets to German fourth seed Alexander Zverev on Friday in the men's singles.

The Serbian will instead face Pablo Carreno Busta in the men's singles bronze medal match on Saturday, while he has another medal hope in the mixed doubles.

Djokovic has partnered with Nina Stojanovic and will face Australian duo Ashleigh Barty and John Peers in the bronze medal match also on Saturday.

“I feel terrible right now in every sense but tomorrow hopefully a fresh start I can recover and win at least one medal for my country,” Djokovic said.

After losing to Zverev 1-6 6-3 6-1, Djokovic's tough day was compounded with defeat alongside Stojanovic in the mixed doubles' semi-finals to the Russian Olympic Committee's Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.

“Tough day, a really tough day," Djokovic said. "I feel so terrible right now. I was leading by a set then a break and [Zverev] managed to turn the match around.

"He served huge, was attacking, and I was not getting any free points on my first serves.

“I've got to give him credit for turning the match around. He served extremely well. I mean I was not getting too many looks on the second serve.

"My serve just drastically dropped. I didn’t get any free points from 3-2 up in the second. My game fell apart.

“To play someone of his quality, of his level, it's just too tough to win a match [like that]. It’s just sport. He played better.”

Top seed Casper Ruud is through to his third successive ATP final after defeating Arthur Rinderknech at the Generali Open.

The world number 14 has been in incredible form on clay, having captured the Swedish Open and Swiss Open titles.

Ruud, who also landed the Geneva Open crown in May, has now won his last 11 matches, but was made to work hard for a 6-3 7-6 (9-7) victory over world number 91 Rinderknech in Kitzbuhel.

The Norwegian was forced to come from behind and defeat Sweden’s Mikael Ymer on Thursday, saving a match point in the process, and a single break swung a close opening set in his favour.

Fresh from defeating third seed Filip Krajinovic in the last eight, Rinderknech refused to lie down and took the second to a tie-break.

The big-serving Frenchman fired down 10 aces, but Ruud held his nerve to avoid a decider and prevail, saving a match point as he came from a mini-break down to extend his winning run.

The 22-year-old will play Pedro Martinez in the final after the Spaniard came from behind to beat Germany’s Daniel Altmeier 4-6 6-3 6-3.

Spaniard Martinez won 70 per cent of points behind his first serve and broke four times to move into the championship match.

Selemon Barega took the first athletics gold of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on a day when Novak Djokovic saw his Golden Slam hopes ended.

Barega topped the podium for Ethiopia as he saw off competition from Ugandan duo Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo on Friday.

The 21-year-old ran a smart race and had the stronger finish in him to see off pre-race favourite Cheptegei, who took silver ahead of compatriot Kiplimo.

"It means a lot to me because I have been practising a lot, not only by myself but together with the Ethiopian people," said Barega, who quickly sets his sights on future success.

"As an athlete the primary target for us is to participate in the Olympics, be a champion, and also be able to break the record.

"So I'm really thinking about future opportunities for me to achieve that, and if possible I'm also communicating with my manager about that."

There was no such joy for Djokovic as his bid to become the first man to win a calendar Golden Slam was crushed by a semi-final defeat to Alexander Zverev.

Djokovic was a set and a break up but the Serbian contrived to lose eight games in a row en route to a 1-6 6-3 6-1 loss.

Germany's Zverev had sympathy for his beaten opponent, who he declared as the greatest of all time.

He said: "I know that he was chasing history, chasing the Golden Slam and chasing the Olympics, but in these kind of moments me and Novak are very close. Of course I'm happy that I've won, but at the end of the day I know how Novak feels.

"I feel sorry for Novak, but he's won 20 grand slams, 550 Masters Series or whatever, you can't have everything.

"He's the greatest player of all time, he will win the most grand slams out of anybody on tour, but I'm also happy that I'm in the final."

Defeat in the mixed doubles means the 20-time grand slam champion will face two bronze medal matches in Japan.

 

MIXED RELAY WOES FOR USA

The 4x400 metre relay mixed event made its debut in the Olympics on Friday but it did not go well for the favourites as the United States suffered disqualification.

One of the team's baton exchanges was deemed to have taken place outside the designated zone, ending their campaign and leaving the gold medal up for grabs.

Poland qualified fastest with a time of three minutes 10.44 seconds, with the Netherlands close behind and Jamaica also in the mix.

 

SCHAUFFELE LEADS THE WAY IN RAIN-AFFECTED MEN'S GOLF

Xander Schauffele fired a 63 to move top of the leaderboard at Tokyo 2020, while home favourite Hideki Matsuyama and Rory McIlroy made big moves on Friday.

The threat of serious weather caused another delay on day two, and eventually brought an early end to play with Matsuyama among those not to finish his round.

But Schauffele, who has a big following in Japan as his mother was brought up in the country, sat pretty at 11 under as the stellar names bared their teeth at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Matsuyama was six under through 16 holes of his second round and eight under overall for the tournament.

McIlroy matched Matsuyama's round-one score but shot five under in round two and is well in the mix four shots back.

 

A LONG TIME COMING

Ma Long took gold in the table tennis as he became the first man to win consecutive Olympics titles in the event.

It was an all-Chinese final and Ma roared to victory against Fan Zhendong.

China also secured a one-two in the badminton mixed doubles.

 

IGLESIAS CAN BE CUBA'S HERO

Cuban welterweight fighter Roniel Iglesias earned a third Olympic medal after sinking American Delante Johnson with a sweep of the scorecards.

After a bronze in Beijing and gold at London in 2012, Iglesias savoured another chance to target the top step of the podium.

The 32-year-old said: "It is my third medal which is very important but what I really want is to win the gold medal. It is a historic moment for me and for my country, Cuba. I am very happy at this achievement."

Light heavyweight Ben Whittaker admitted he was a blubbering mess after securing at least a bronze medal for Great Britain. He set up a semi-final against Imam Khataev – representing the Russian Olympic Committee – after scoring a majority points win over Brazilian Keno Machado.

Whittaker was overwhelmed by the result and burst into tears at the realisation he would be taking home a medal.

"That was the hard part, getting that medal," Whittaker said. "I won't relax, but I've pushed through that first door now and all I have to do is start changing that colour. Bronze is a lovely colour but everyone wants gold."

 

DRAMA APLENTY IN WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

The quarter-finals of the women's football competition delivered on drama in a big way.

Penalty shoot-outs were needed for Canada and the United States to progress to a last-four showdown, with Brazil and the Netherlands their respective victims.

Australia won a seven-goal thriller 4-3 against Great Britain after extra time and will now meet Sweden, who knocked out hosts Japan 3-1.

Ash Barty has conceded her dramatic Olympics mixed doubles defeat will be tough to take.

The world number one saw her hopes of winning a gold medal for Australia at Tokyo 2020 brought to an end on Friday.

Barty and partner John Peers won the first set against Russian Olympic Committee duo Andrey Rublev and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

But Rublev and Pavlyuchenkova turned it around to win an epic clash 5-7 6-4 13-11 and reach the final.

With Barty already eliminated in the singles and women's doubles competitions, the best she can now hope for is a bronze medal alongside Peers.

They will meet Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic for the last spot on the podium.

"It is a tough one to swallow," said Barty. "I think those tie-breaks at times, they go either way and we just didn't quite have the run of the grain. 

"We put ourselves in a position to win the match, we just weren't able to close it out. It was a good level, no doubt disappointing."

Another chance at a medal means Wimbledon champion Barty will try to get over her loss swiftly.

She added: "But we get to fight for a medal - this one hurts but we still have an opportunity to play another match and try to win a medal for Australia. 

"We pick ourselves up pretty quickly, move on and know that we will give it our all and keep fighting right until the end.

"It's been quite a while since we've had an Australian medallist here [in tennis] at the Olympics so we're looking forward to that challenge."

In the men's doubles, Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic are Olympic champions after they beat fellow Croatia representatives Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig in the final.

Alexander Zverev apologised to Novak Djokovic after ending the Serbian superstar's hopes of a glorious Golden Slam – but joked it was about time someone else landed a major tennis title.

In their Olympic Games semi-final, it seemed Djokovic was cruising through to the gold medal match when he surged a set and a break of serve ahead.

Incredibly, though, Zverev won 10 of 11 games from 3-2 behind in the second set to take the match 1-6 6-3 6-1 and set up a shot at Karen Khachanov in Sunday's final.

Djokovic swept to Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon trophy success before heading to Japan for the Olympics, the fourth leg of a potential sweep of each of the year's majors and the Tokyo 2020 singles title.

He had spoken of it becoming closer to a reality, as he attempted to match Steffi Graf's achievement from 1988, when she followed triumphs at each of the slams by winning in the October 1 final at the Olympics, held in Seoul that year. Graf remains the only player to have pulled off the feat in the same year.

Zverev had other ideas, but he also had sympathy for Djokovic when they exchanged words at the net.

"I told him that he's the greatest of all time, and he will be," Zverev said.

"I know that he was chasing history, chasing the Golden Slam and chasing the Olympics, but in these kind of moments me and Novak are very close. Of course I'm happy that I've won, but at the end of the day I know how Novak feels.

"I feel sorry for Novak, but he's won 20 grand slams, 550 Masters Series or whatever, you can't have everything.

"He's the greatest player of all time, he will win the most grand slams out of anybody on tour, but I'm also happy that I'm in the final."

 

Victory at Wimbledon earlier in July took 34-year-old Djokovic to 20 grand slam titles, level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most by a man in the history of tennis, and Zverev was lurching towards becoming his latest victim when their Tokyo tussle began in a one-sided manner.

"I was down a set and a break, so I needed to change something. I started playing much more aggressive," Zverev said. "I started to swing through the ball a little bit more, and I tried to dominate that way."

Zverev is assured of at least a silver medal now, while Djokovic faces a bronze medal play-off against Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta.

"It's an amazing feeling knowing that you're going to bring the medal back to your house, back home to Germany," Zverev said.

"It's incredible beating the best player in the world undoubtedly right now and in this season. It seemed it was impossible to beat him at this event, so I’m very happy right now. But yet there's still one match to go."

Novak Djokovic's hopes of becoming the first man to win a calendar Golden Slam were crushed by a semi-final defeat to Alexander Zverev at the Tokyo Olympics.

From a set and a break up, Djokovic dropped a staggering eight games in a row on his way to a 1-6 6-3 6-1 loss.

The 34-year-old Serbian had been unsure about coming to the Games but was swayed by the pride he takes in representing his country and the tantalising opportunity to add a gold medal to a potential clean sweep of the grand slams.

He has already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, and will head to the US Open in August as a heavy favourite regardless of this setback.

But this was just not Djokovic's day, despite him making a whirlwind start and dominating until the point he broke to lead 3-2 in the second set. From there, Zverev seized control. 

When Djokovic volleyed into the net to make it 3-3, dropping serve for the first time in the match, it looked like just a minor stumble.

Yet suddenly he was struggling for form and did not win another game until he was already 4-0 behind in the deciding set.

Zverev was playing blindingly brilliant tennis and was proving obdurate too, saving four break points in the second game of the third set.

He clinched victory with a blazing backhand winner, and goes on to face Russian Karen Khachanov in the final.

The result means Djokovic, like Roger Federer, seems fated never to win the Olympic singles gold medal. And it leaves Steffi Graf as the only player to ever win a calendar Golden Slam, having done so in 1988 when she added the Seoul Olympics title to her haul of majors.

Russian Olympic Committee's Khachanov fended off Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta with some ease in the first semi-final, with the world number 25 sweeping to a 6-3 6-3 victory in an hour and 19 minutes.

He won 26 of 28 points on first serve to freeze out Carreno Busta, who had only one break point all match and could not take that opportunity.

"It's just a pure happiness, a pleasure to be here to live those moments, these kind of memories will stay forever," Khachanov said.

Khachanov delivered a rock solid display, with his serve and forehand at their best, barely giving his opponent a sniff of an opportunity as the Moscow-born 25-year-old established a firm grip.

"That's the way I prepared, against every opponent you play a little bit differently," Khachanov said. "The final will be another story, another match, another day. I hope it will be the same."

Carreno Busta, who will face Djokovic for the bronze medal, said: "It was not the best match I have played, but Karen was unbelievable today, playing very aggressive and serving really good."

Cameron Norrie breezed past Nick Kyrgios and John Isner downed countryman Jack Sock to advance to the quarter-finals at the Atlanta Open on Thursday. 

The third-seeded Norrie defeated Kyrgios 6-1 6-4 in less than an hour as he tries for a second consecutive title after collecting his first ATP Tour championship at Los Cabos last week. 

The former University of Georgia star Isner, a five-time champion in Atlanta, beat Sock 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 despite serving only 13 aces after hitting 36 in his previous match. 

Second-seeded Jannik Sinner fell 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 to Australian qualifier Christopher O'Connell, leaving the tournament without its top two seeds after Milos Raonic was upset by Brandon Nakashima on Wednesday. 

O'Connell, ranked 132 in the world to Sinner's 23, had not won a main-draw match this year before defeating Denis Kudla in the opening round and will now face Isner in the quarters.

Norrie will meet Emil Ruusuvuori, who advanced when Benoit Paire retired down 3-0 in the third set after the pair had split the first two sets 4-6 6-4. 

Ruusuvuori is into his second career ATP quarter-final after making it to the semis at Nur-Sultan last year. 

Casper Ruud survived a scare as he progressed to the Generali Open semi-finals with a 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 victory over Mikael Ymer.

World number 14 Ruud is targeting a third successive ATP title, having also captured the Swedish Open and Swiss Open earlier this month.

It has been a timely return to form for the Norwegian, who suffered a shock defeat to Australia's Jordan Thompson at Wimbledon at the end of June.

Although he was in danger of seeing his nine-match winning streak come to an end in Kitzbuhel, after losing the opening set against Swedish opponent Ymer.

Ruud, who also triumphed at the Geneva Open in May, was then taken to a tie-break in the second ser by the world number 99, but held his nerve to tee up a decider.

It was one-way traffic from there with the 22-year-old dominating play to set up a last-four clash with Arthur Rinderknech, who hit five aces as he overcame third seed Filip Krajinovic 6-4 6-1.

Meanwhile, Daniel Altmaier's place in the semi-finals was secured with a 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 win over Gianluca Mager.

The world number 135, who reached the fourth round of last year's French Open, will play Pedro Martinez in the semi-finals after the Spaniard saw off Jozef Kovalik 6-2 6-2.

Friday sees the start of the Olympic athletics schedule and the first tennis medals will be won in Tokyo.

The men's 10,000 metres final will be staged on the first day of track and field action at the Olympic Stadium.

There will be an all-Croatia men's doubles gold medal match at the Ariake Tennis Park, plus no doubt more drama to come in the pool.

Stats Perform picks out some of the standout events to look forward to.


CHEPTEGEI FAVOURITE FOR FIRST TRACK GOLD

Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo both have the chance to become the first athlete from Uganda to win an Olympic gold medal in the men's 10,000m final.

Cheptegei, the 2019 world champion, is well fancied in the last event on the track on Friday, while his compatriot Kiplimo could become the youngest man to be crowned champion at the distance at the age of 20 years and 258 days.

Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia and Canadian Mohammed Ahmed also have high hopes of making it onto the podium. 

Other events to look out for are the start of the women's 100m, men's 400m hurdles and men's high jump, along with the women's 800m and women's triple jump.

CROATIA GUARANTEED DOUBLES GOLD

One guarantee on Friday is that Croatia will add a gold and silver medal to their tally at the Tokyo Games.

Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig will face compatriots Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in the gold medal match in the men's doubles final.

The men's singles semi-finals will also take place, with Novak Djokovic, chasing a Golden Slam this year, up against Germany's Alexander Zverev.

Karen Khachanov of the Russian Olympic Committee will do battle with Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta to find out who will make it through from the other half of the draw.


HIGH HOPES FOR AUSTRALIAN DUO

Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell could make it an Australia one-two in the women's 100m freestyle final.

McKeon set a new Olympic record of 52.13 seconds on Wednesday and will go out in lane four next to her dangerous compatriot Campbell.

That is one of four finals on Friday, with Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa expected to take some stopping in the 200m breaststroke final after clocking an Olympic record time of 2:19.16 this week.

Medals will also be up for grabs in the men's 200m backstroke final and the men's 200m individual medley.

Sunisa Lee stepped up in the absence of Simone Biles to claim gold and maintain Team USA’s dominance in the women's gymnastics all-around event.

The 18-year-old became the sixth American woman to take the title – and fifth in a row – after beating Brazil's Rebeca Andrade and Angelina Melnikova to gold.

Despite withdrawing from the final to focus on her mental health, Biles was cheering on from the stands as her team-mate aimed to capitalise.

Lee was looking to continue her nation's impressive record in this event, which has seen triumph concurrently at both the Olympic Games and World Championships since 2010.

The teenager admitted she came close to quitting gymnastics following a difficult two years – both in and out of the gym.

Nevertheless, she duly delivered the goods by totalling 57.433 to take gold and edge out Andrade, who became the first Brazilian woman to claim an Olympic medal in artistic gymnastics.

"It feels crazy, it is so surreal. It's a dream come true," Lee said. "I don't even know what to say. It hasn't even sunk in. The past two years with COVID have been crazy. There was one point I wanted to quit. 

"To be here and to be an Olympic gold medallist is just crazy."

 

PATIENT FOX COMES GOOD

Australia's Jess Fox became the first women's canoe slalom (C1) Olympic gold medallist.

A multiple World champion, Olympic gold has eluded Fox over the years. She was a silver medallist at London in 2012, while she took home a bronze from Rio four years later.

However, her persistence finally paid off after posting a time of 105.04 seconds in the final, while Great Britain's Mallory Franklin and Andrea Herzog of Germany completed the podium.

"I can't believe it," said Fox, who also won bronze in the women's kayak earlier this week.

"I was dreaming of [a gold medal] and I really believed it was within me, but you never know what is going to happen at the Olympics.

"It is about holding your nerve and I probably didn't do that very well in the kayak a couple of days before, so it was hard to get to this point. But it has been incredible to do what I did today."

Novak Djokovic is growing in confidence after his bid to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games stayed on track on his "best day" of Tokyo 2020.

The Serbian cruised into the semi-finals of the singles tournament with an emphatic 6-2 6-0 win over home favourite Kei Nishikori of Japan, then teamed up with Nina Stojanovic to beat German pair Laura Siegemund and Kevin Krawietz in the mixed doubles quarter-finals.

World number one Djokovic, 34, is attempting to become the first man to win all four tennis singles grand slam titles and an Olympic gold in the same year.

He has already triumphed at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, leaving just Tokyo and the US Open to conquer.

Asked after his doubles win if this was the best year of his career, Djokovic replied: "I don't know. Today was the best day of this tournament because I've played my best tennis so far."

Those comments echoed his assessment of the Nishikori match, after which he said: "I'm very happy – my best performance in the tournament."

Djokovic said he "had an answer for everything [Nishikori] had" and now he will face Alexander Zverev.

Asked how confident he felt heading into the last four, the 20-time grand slam champion replied: "Very."

 

Djokovic was boosted by the later start times for his matches after the International Tennis Federation bowed to pressure from players complaining of the extreme heat and humidity at Ariake Tennis Park.

"It's great that we're playing in the afternoon hours, so we don't experience too much heat," Djokovic said.

"Although it's still very, very humid. It's a bit easier, more pleasant to play in the afternoon. It was fantastic. 

"Playing after 5[pm] is completely different.  Obviously, there is a little bit of a breeze, but still very, very humid, you sweat a lot, but you don't have the heat, you don't have the sun that, in combination with the humidity, is just brutal."

Novak Djokovic cruised through to the men's singles semi-finals after a commanding straight-sets victory over Kei Nishikori at the Ariake Tennis Park.

The world number one is yet to drop a set at the Tokyo Games after running out a 6-2 6-0 winner against home favourite Nishikori, who claimed bronze in Rio five years ago.

Having already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year, Djokovic is aiming to become the first male player of the Open era to complete the Golden Grand Slam.

Should he claim gold in Tokyo and go on to triumph at the US Open, he would become only the second player overall to achieve the feat, after Steffi Graf in 1988.

However, the Serbian has never reached an Olympic final – his best result coming in for the form of a bronze medal in Beijing.

"Matches are not getting easier, but my level of tennis is getting better and better," Djokovic told reporters after setting up a last-four tie with Alexander Zverev.

"I've done that many, many times in my career. I know that I'm the kind of player that the further the tournament goes, the better I'm feeling on the court.

"That's the case here, [it was] my best performance of the tournament tonight against a very good opponent."

 

DANIIL DUMPED OUT

Standing in the way of Djokovic and a shot at the gold medal is fourth seed Zverev.

The big-serving German saw off Jeremy Chardy 6-4 6-1 and like Djokovic is yet to drop a set at the tournament.

World number five Zverev, who hit 11 aces during the contest, broke early on the way to edging a closely fought opening set. The US Open finalist then went into overdrive with three breaks on the way to sealing the deal.

There was, however, no joy for second seed Daniil Medvedev, as he went down 2-6 6-7 (5-7) against Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta, who is looking to replicated Rafael Nadal's effort from 2008.

"Today, he could win a Masters easily, and yet he's never been in any final of those," the Russian said of his opponent.

"With the level he showed here today, he can get to the final of a Grand Slam easily. I couldn't play better than what I did today. It was not easy to play and I'm really disappointed with myself and for my country to lose in the quarters."

 

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

Despite Medvedev's exit, Russia – or, at least, the Russian Olympic Committee – will be represented in the semi-finals by Karen Khachanov.

A quarter-finalist at Wimbledon earlier this month, the 12th seed built on his momentum by overcoming Ugo Humbert in three sets.

Khachanov took the opener on a tie-break but was pegged back by the Frenchman in the second as the contest went to a decider.

But he established early control by breaking to love in game four before holding out to prevail 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-3.

Marketa Vondrousova landed another huge scalp in the form of Elina Svitolina to book her place in the gold medal match at Tokyo 2020 against Belinda Bencic.

It has been a memorable week for Vondrousova, who knocked out cauldron-lighter and "face of the games" Naomi Osaka in round three.

One more hurdle still stands in her way in the form of ninth seed Bencic, who fought hard for a three-set triumph over Elena Rybakina.

VONDROUSOVA MARVELS AGAIN

Vondrousova has had a Games to remember and she was a 6-3 6-1 winner against heavily fancied fourth seed Svitolina, becoming the first female Czech to reach an Olympic singles final in the process.

It means the Czech Republic will have a women's singles competitor on the podium for the second straight Games after Petra Kvitova finished with bronze at Rio 2016.

Incredibly, Vondrousova did not even automatically qualify for these Games with Karolina Pliskova, Barbora Krejcikova, Kvitova and Karolina Muchova ahead of her in the qualifying pecking order.

Vondrousova opted to use her protected ranking, dating back to a wrist injury prior to the pandemic, meaning Muchova missed out. Though criticised at the time, she is the last of the four remaining.

TEARS FOR BENCIC

Switzerland has a proud history of tennis stars but neither the legendary Roger Federer nor the great Martina Hingis have won Olympic gold in a singles event. Bencic has the chance to do that, though.

She had to go the distance against Rybakina in a 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 6-3 victory, with Bencic fighting back from 5-2 down in the first set.

Eventually Bencic came through in two hours and 44 minutes and the tears poured as she made the final.

"My emotions right now... it's too high," Bencic told the ITF website. "To have a medal, it's the greatest thing. Even to be here as an athlete, in the Olympics, it's amazing."

It means Switzerland will medal for the fourth straight Games with Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Hingis and the recently retired Timea Bacsinszky all having medalled.

The last Swiss gold medallist was at Barcelona 1992 where Marc Rosset won the men's singles.

Elsewhere, singles world number one Ash Barty remains in the hunt for mixed doubles gold. She and partner John Peers defeated Greek pair Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari – winning on a 10-point tie-break after the first two sets were shared.

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