Great Britain's Andy Murray repeated as the Olympic champion, beating Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro in the men's singles tennis final at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games on Sunday.
He prevailed in four sets, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Murray is the first player to win the tournament's gold-medal match at back-to-back Olympics. Both he and Del Potro were emotional at the end of the match, per Live Tennis:
Murray's mother, Judy, had a nerve-wracking experience following each point in the match:
Murray struck first, following a service hold with the first break of the match to go ahead 2-0 in the first set.
Del Potro broke back but lost his serve again in the fourth game, eventually falling behind 4-1 as Murray closed in on taking the opener.
The Argentinian brilliantly got back on level terms at 4-4, though, and made Murray work hard to hold late in the first set.
After taking a 6-5 lead, the Scot pounced again at an opportune moment, winning a marathon first set 7-5 with a brilliant backhand pass down the line, per the New York Times' Ben Rothenberg:
The punishing nature of the final did not let up in the second set as Murray and Del Potro continued to exchange blows in front of an animated crowd at the Olympic Tennis Centre.
Del Potro took the early advantage in the second set, breaking for a 1-0 lead and then saving numerous break points for a tough hold in the second game of the set.
Per the BBC's Russell Fuller, the 27-year-old Del Petro ratcheted up a gear in the second set, with his crushing forehand working brilliantly:
His serve was also firing, and Murray had few opportunities to get back on level terms.
As the clock ticked past the two-hour mark, Del Potro edged closer to leveling the match, but he was forced to serve it out as Murray saved the Argentinian's first set point with a well-worked volley.
The 2012 gold medalist could not get back on level terms, and Del Potro held to take the second set 6-4.
The 2009 U.S. Open winner has struggled with injuries in recent seasons and looked to be feeling the effects of a tough tournament, as tennis commentator David Law observed:
However, he and Murray remained almost inseparable as they exchanged holds early in the third set.
Finally, in the sixth game of the third set, Murray got another chance to break. Despite missing his first opportunity, he forced Del Potro to go long on his second try.
The Argentinian then committed two double-faults, falling behind 4-2.
After a routine hold, Murray forced a triple set point on Del Potro's next service game, taking the second after a huge forehand return.
Little separated the two in the fourth and final set. While Del Potro was serving to stay alive in the 12th game and was one point away from forcing a tiebreaker, Murray broke back for deuce. He let one match point slip through his grasp before closing out the win on his second.
With the Olympics over, Murray will shift his focus to the 2016 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio. He's the top seed for the tournament and is a two-time winner of the event.
Del Potro won't be making the trip to southern Ohio, so he'll likely begin looking ahead to the 2016 U.S. Open. If he can continue playing like he did in Rio, he could be a dark horse at Flushing Meadows, New York.
Murray talked about his mindset after the grueling Olympics, per Dan Wolken of USA Today: “To finish with a match like that was very emotional. It’s been a buildup of emotions over the last 10 days and I’m very happy I got over the line tonight. I’m so tired.”
Del Potro was pleased with the silver after the match, per Wolken:
I got a silver medal, which means gold for me. When I saw the draw and my first match would be Djokovic, I said, ‘OK, it’s going to be a short tournament for me. But I had a great match at the beginning and kept winning every day and the crowd made me cry every night and that was the key to keep going and never give up.
As for Murray, he was looking for a way to carry over the Olympic momentum after the win, per Wolken: “I think last few months I’ve been competing for the biggest events in every tournament. I haven’t won every one but I’ve been close. I need to find a way to keep that going.”
He did enough to come away with a gold medal on Sunday.