Daniil Medvedev overcame physical problems in brutal Tokyo heat, as well as a tricky opponent in Fabio Fognini, to reach the quarterfinals of the Olympic Tennis Event.
World No.2 Medvedev won 6-2 3-6 6-2 to set up a clash with Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who beat Germany’s Dominik Koepfer in straight sets.
Also advancing to the men's quarterfinals were world No.1 Novak Djokovic and fourth seed Alexander Zverev, while Greek No.3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was stunned in three sets by Frenchman Ugo Humbert.
In women's action, Ukrainian Elina Svitolina – the highest-ranked player remaining in the draw at world No.6 – stormed into the semifinals, and medal contention, with an impressive 6-4 6-4 win over Camila Giorgi.
Joining Svitolina in the final four were Czech Marketa Vondrousova, Swiss Belinda Bencic and Kazakh Elena Rybakina, with the latter upsetting No.7 seed Garbine Muguruza.
Djokovic, Medvedev advance as Tsitsipas exits
Serbia's Djokovic took another step closer in his campaign for an Olympic gold medal to accompany his Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles thanks to a clinical 6-3 6-1 win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Now on a 21-match winning streak, Djokovic next lines up against former world No.4 Kei Nishikori, the Japanese star who stopped Belarusian Ilya Ivashka 7-6(7) 6-0 after saving two set points.
Earlier on Wednesday, second seed Medvedev struggled in the hot and humid conditions on Centre Court, requiring multiple medical timeouts in a messy match during which he and Fognini combined for 84 unforced errors compared with 47 winners.
Despite his physical discomfort, Medvedev forged ahead 5-2 in the final set and sealed victory when Fognini double faulted.
Germany's Zverev defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-4 7-6(5) while also progressing was 12th seed Karen Khachanov, a 6-1 2-6 6-1 winner over Argentina's Diego Schwartzman, and France's Jeremy Chardy, who ended the unlikely run of Brit Liam Broady in three sets.
But Tsitsipas was unable to join those victors in the quarterfinals; the world No.4 was just a handful of points away from defeating Humbert but sustained an injury on Humbert's set point before fading to a 2-6 7-6(4) 6-2 loss.
Humbert, a 23-year-old left-hander, will play Khachanov for a semifinal spot.
Svitolina headlines semifinal line-up
After three consecutive three-set triumphs to get to the quarters, Svitolina’s win over Giorgi was her most impressive yet in Tokyo.
The fourth seed was facing an opponent who had dominated seeds Jennifer Brady and Karolina Pliskova in earlier rounds, yet raced to a 5-1 advantage in the first set and a 4-1 lead in the second to largely control the contest.
She takes a winning 3-1 head-to-head record into her semifinal against Vondousova, who was leading Paula Badosa by a set before the rising Spanish star was forced to retire due to heat stress.
Bencic ended the stellar run of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova with a 6-3 3-6 6-3 triumph and will next play 15th seed Rybakina, who avenged her recent loss to Muguruza in Berlin with a high-quality performance to win 7-5 6-1.
Rybakina, ranked 20th, has won 15 of her past 19 matches dating back to the beginning of Roland Garros, where she upset Serena Williams en route to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Doubles: Bencic targeting two gold medals
Bencic, meanwhile, continued her brilliant Olympic week by returning to the court for doubles and combining with Viktorija Golubic to beat Australians Sam Stosur and Ellen Perez 6-4 6-4.
The Swiss duo advance to the semifinals where they will play Brazilians Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani, who upset American No.4 seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jessica Pegula 10-6 in a match tiebreak.
In a similarly taut contest, top seeded Czechs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova overcame Australian pairing Ash Barty and Storm Sanders to earn themselves an opportunity to play for an Olympic medal.
Krejcikova and Siniakova sealed a 3-6 6-4 [10-7] victory to book a semifinal date with Elena Vesnina and Veronika Kudermetova.
The Russian duo, who recently appeared in the Wimbledon doubles final, routed Ukrainian sisters Nadiia and Lyudmyla Kichenok 6-2 6-1.
In men’s doubles, New Zealand pairing Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus advanced to the semifinals with an upset 6-3 3-6 [10-7] win over third seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah of Colombia.
Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain bowed out when they fell 4-6 7-6(2) [10-7] to Croats Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig, while top seed Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, another Croatian pairing, ended the run of Japanese duo Nishikori and Ben McLachlan in straight sets.
Mixed doubles action commenced on Wednesday, with Tsitsipas shrugging off his singles defeat to beat Canadians Felix Auger-Aliassime and Gabriela Dabrowski alongside countrywoman Maria Sakkari.
The superstar Greek pair will next face Aussies Barty and John Peers in a highly-anticipated quarterfinal clash.
Quotes of the day
"The last one was cramping, so 30 minutes after the match it’s okay. The first one I had a blocked diaphragm. It’s the same thing. The next day it’s a new story and it doesn’t affect things. Of course I’m going to work with the physio on these issues to feel even better tomorrow."
- Daniil Medvedev, discussing the physical issues he experienced in the heat throughout his third-round win over Fognini.
"When you are higher ranked everyone wants to beat you and everyone is extremely motivated to beat you. I just try to focus on my game and not think so much about what's going on in the other side of the net."
- world No.6 Elina Svitolina, the highest-ranked player remaining in the women's singles draw at Tokyo 2020.
“I don’t think I can put it into words. I had a wee cry at the end of the match today and I think that sort of tells you how much it means.”
- New Zealand's Marcus Daniell, after he and partner Michael Venus advanced to the men's doubles semifinals.
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Day 6: Ones to watch
In acknowledgment of the oppressive summer conditions in Tokyo, play will commence at 3pm local time (three hours later than usual) to protect players from competing in peak temperatures.
Yet the Centre Court action will be sizzling regardless, with the women's singles semifinals – Bencic v Rybakina first up – scheduled either side of the blockbuster men's quarterfinal between Djokovic and Nishikori.
Khachanov and Humbert will do battle on Court 1, the first of three men's singles quarterfinals on the secondary court.
Closing the Court 1 schedule is the mixed doubles quarterfinal pitting Poles Iga Swiatek and Lukas Kubot against Roland Garros finalists Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev.
Also in mixed doubles action are singles superstars Djokovic, Barty and Tsitsipas, with the Australian and Greek going head-to-head on Court 2.