Daniil Medvedev struggled with the heat in Tokyo on Wednesday before reaching the Olympic quarter-finals, staying on course for a heavyweight clash with Novak Djokovic.
Second-seed Medvedev defeated Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 to set up a last-eight meeting with Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain at Ariake Tennis Park.
Two-time Grand Slam runner-up Medvedev, who had urged organisers to delay start times after his opening match, again found the temperatures testing as the extreme weather policy once more came into effect.
Asked by the umpire if he was OK during the second set, the Russian replied: “I can finish the match, but I can die. If I die, who will take responsibility?"
Following a 10-minute interval between the second and third sets, Medvedev broke Fognini and won the first three games of the decider.
He saved three break points at 4-2 before clinching victory after two hours and 25 minutes.
“I’m fine. I can finish the match but I can die. If I die will the ITF (governing body International Tennis Federation) take responsibility?" Medvedev said when the chair umpire asked him if he was fine.
Later after the match he said,"Even from the first set I didn’t feel good enough with my breathing. That’s why I called the physio, I felt like my diaphragm was blocked," he said, adding that he felt it was the most humid day so far in Tokyo.
“And then on the second set, I just had darkness in my eyes, like between every point, I didn’t know what to do to feel better. Like I was bending over and I couldn’t get my breath together so I was ready to just fall down on the court."
World number one Djokovic continues his Olympic title bid against Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina later Wednesday, with Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the 2016 bronze medallist, taking on Ilya Ivashka of Belarus.
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, the highest-ranked player left in the women’s draw, reached the semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Camila Giorgi of Italy.
Fourth-seed Svitolina will play Spain’s Paula Badosa or Marketa Vondrousova, the conqueror of home favourite Naomi Osaka, for a place in the final in Tokyo.