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Andy Murray reached the third round of the Olympic men's singles tournament with a sixty-nine minute straight-set win over Juan 'Pico' Monaco. After the match Pico described Andy as a 'huge opponent' and expressed pride at representing his country at this Olympics. For all the withdrawals from the Olympic tennis, what remains at the heart of this tournament is the passion each player has for representing their country on court.
Few other's in the game have embraced the meaning of being an Olympian in the way Andy has at these games, and the way he fights for every point when representing Great Britain on the court remains undiminished. When representing GB in Davis Cup he has lost just two matches in singles in eleven years, and he faces one of his Davis Cup conquerors in the third round in Rio on Wednesday.
Fabio Fognini - the mercurial yet temperamental Italian - defeated the equally unrealised talents of Benoit Paire in a match that at times bordered on an exhibition style attitude from both men as they displayed both flamboyance and apparent disinterest. Paire served for the match but it was Fognini who won the final point in the third set tiebreak.
Paire's general disinterest in the Olympics has been evident from the start - he only made the cut after Richard Gasquet was forced to withdraw with a back injury - and earlier this year French Davis Cup captain Yannick Noah indicated he didn't want Paire anywhere near his team. In a bizarre turn of events following the second round loss, Paire was banned from the French team and ordered to pack his bags for behaviour reasons and lack of team spirit, adding a new layer to what has been a disappointing Olympics for the French tennis team.
Andy and Fognini - both arriving in Rio with hair cuts, though true to his character the Italian's is rather more dramatic - have faced each other four times to date and have two wins apiece, one each on hard and clay. Andy won their last encounter on the way to another battling title win in the autumn of 2014 at the Valencia ATP 500 tournament. Andy has been broken in the first set of his two matches so far, but has responded with an immediate break back, and hasn't been tested much thus far.
The slow court has allowed Andy to show off his much celebrated defence, but his court position was better and he was a little more proactive in the forecourt on Tuesday. One area for improvement will be his first serve percentage which is lingering in the high 50s, something that won't help him as the tournament progresses. Fognini is capable of some astonishing shots and twice defeated Nadal in epic matches in 2015, but his form in 2016 has been impacted by injury, but the Italian has the potential to detain Andy on court and cause the second seed trouble if he walks on court in the right frame of mind.
The match is scheduled to be played third on Centre Court at an estimated start time of 2.15pm local time and 6.15pm BST. The weather is forecast to be cloudy and humid, with a chance of rain showers throughout the day. Temperatures of around 21 degrees Celsius, humidity of up to 75% during the day, and a southwesterly wind of 18mph with gusts of up to 25mph.
Thanks to Bev for the H2H in the post below.