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Murray Gives Himself Olympics Medal Shot After Royal Performance

London, England

Murray© AFP/Getty ImagesAndy Murray is bidding to become Great Britain's first Olympic tennis medallist since 1996.

Andy Murray guaranteed himself a shot at becoming Great Britain’s first Olympic men's singles medallist in 100 years on Thursday.

“It’s great, that was the goal coming into the tournament,” said Murray, on the prospect of winning an Olympic medal. “It’s nice to get the opportunity. It makes a big difference to play in front of a home crowd. It does add a little bit of extra pressure, but it helps raise your game.”

Watched by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the third-seeded Scot completed an impressive 6-4, 6-1 victory over No. 11 seed Nicolas Almagro of Spain in 59 minutes on Court One, at the London 2012 Olympics Tennis Event, which is being held at the All England Club, Wimbledon.

“It’s always nice playing in front of royalty,” said Murray. “You try not to [look up], but the crowd made a lot of noise when they came out. I think it’s great for tennis when you can get people like that coming along, it helps raise the profile." The royals even joined in a Mexican Wave.

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Murray is bidding to better the achievement of Charles Dixon, a former British Davis Cup player, who won the 1912 Stockholm Olympics singles silver medal. Neil Broad and Tim Henman were the last British players to win a medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, when they earned a silver medal in the doubles after losing to Australians Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.

Murray produced his best performance of the week by getting off to a strong start with an early break. He hit nine aces and 16 winners in the 34-minute set. At the end, Almagro called the physio onto Court One for a right shoulder complaint.

“You need to try to stick to the tactics you had when you came out on court,” said Murray, on his plan once Almagro aggravated an injury.

The treatment didn’t appear to help, as Almagro was broken to love, then, in the fifth game, Murray produced three blistering winners from the baseline to take a 4-1 lead. He completed his 36th win of the season by breaking serve for a fourth time.

“I played solid on serve,” said Murray, who won 58 of his 67 service points. “It was good and important that I got off the court quickly."

Murray, this year’s finalist at The Championships, will next play second-seeded Serbian Novak Djokovic or No. 5 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.

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