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Kei Nishikori beats Rafael Nadal, wins 2016 Olympic tennis bronze medal

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Nishikori won the bronze medal for Japan, beating Nadal in singles action on Sunday.

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Kei Nishikori of Japan didn't manage to make it through the semifinals, but he earned a bronze medal in men's singles competition at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Sunday. Nishikori bested Rafael Nadal of Spain to earn the bronze, beating him in three sets, 6-2, 6-7(1), 6-3.

The first set saw Nishikori serve up three aces and win on a massive 73 percent of his second serves. He broke Nadal twice, though he actually struggled in this area, missing out on six break point opportunities in total across the first set. Still, Nadal had eight unforced errors and Nishikori hit four more winners than him, taking the first set in dominant fashion, 6-2.

The second set was a different story, with Nadal fighting Nishikori all the way to a tiebreak at six games apiece. The tiebreak ended in favor of Nadal, who took it in dominant fashion, 7-6(1). Nadal didn't play much better tennis on the stat sheet in that second set, with Nishikori hitting 21 total winners to Nadal's 13, but the Spaniard kept it close regardless, and converted on a couple break points to match the two breaks that Nishikori managed to score.

In the third set, Nishikori converted on his first break opportunity to go up on Nadal, and was in command from there. He held serve through to being up 5-2 and was trying to break Nadal for the match victory. Nadal managed to hold his serve, though, and Nishikori was serving for the match.

Nishikori made it to the semifinals, where had had no answer for Andy Murray, the second seed of the tournament. He was dropped in straight sets as Murray advanced to the final. There, Murray will meet Juan Martin del Potro, the man who took down Nadal in three sets in the other semifinal match. Del Potro also eliminated Novak Djokovic in the first round of the tournament.

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