Stefanos Tsitsipas is taking inspiration from the grandfather he has never met after battling through to round two of the men's singles at Tokyo 2020.

Alexander Zverev had an altogether more comfortable progression at Ariake Tennis Park, while home favourite Kei Nishikori earned an impressive upset win.

Felix Auger-Aliassime was unable to make the most of two-time defending champion Andy Murray's withdrawal, but it was a good day for Hubert Hurkacz. 

Here's the pick of the action from day two of the men's singles.

 

TSITSIPAS OUT TO EMULATE GRANDFATHER

Greek ace Tsitsipas, a French Open finalist this year, had to dig deep for a three-set win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Should he manage to win gold in the Japanese capital he would be matching the feat of his grandfather, who won the football competition representing the Soviet Union in 1956.

"I've never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it," he said. "He kind of inspires me in a way. I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I'm proud of him. 

"It's something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I'm happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics."

ZVEREV LOVING OLYMPICS EXPERIENCE

Fourth seed Zverev coasted past Lu Yen-hsun 6-1 6-3 and spoke of how much he is enjoying being around other German athletes.

"Normally you don't have those guys around that much, you have your friends, of course you have people that are around you, but you don't sleep in the same room as them," he said.

"Yes it is very different but in a way very enjoyable. The Olympics are once every four years, and it’s five years now, so I think everybody is enjoying it and everyone is having the best time that they can."

Nishikori is playing at a fourth Olympics and upset fifth seed Andrey Rublev 6-3 6-4. For the 31-year-old the motivation is simple.

"It's [playing in Japan] something I always dreamed of when I was little," he said. 

"Especially now, with the Covid situation, if I can win as many as I can, I think it will bring better news, that's something I'm trying to do this week."

AUGER-ALIASSIME FAILS TO MAKE MOST OF MURRAY ABSENCE

Auger-Aliassime was scheduled to face Murray before the Team GB star pulled out with a quad issue and will instead focus on doubles.

The Canadian was felled by Murray's replacement Max Purcell, though, the Australian winning 6-4 7-6 (7-2).

Fellow seed Gael Monfils also crashed out but Hurkacz was a 6-2 6-4 victor over Luke Saville, while Diego Schwartzman also made it through.

Ash Barty says she will keep fighting for an Olympic gold medal despite her shock opening-round defeat by Sara Sorribes Tormo in Tokyo.

The world number one fell at the first hurdle at Arianke Tennis Park, going down 6-4 6-3 against her Spanish opponent.

There were no such problems for Naomi Osaka; the home favourite overcame China's Zheng Saisai in straight sets.

BARTY TO KEEP FIGHTING FOR GOLD MEDAL

Crowned Wimbledon champion this month, Barty was unable to build on that momentum; amassing a whopping 55 errors.

World number 48 Sorribes Tormo took full advantage to set up a second-round showdown with France's Fiona Ferro.

Anna Kiesenhofer produced a stunning ride to win gold in the women's cycling road race, with the result certainly taking second-placed Annemiek van Vleuten by surprise.

Kiesenhofer was part of a five-strong breakaway group that immediately moved clear before slowly dropping each of her rivals during the 137-kilometre route that concluded at the Fuji International Speedway track.

The Austrian was all alone at the head of the field with around 40km to go and, with other nations unable to organise a pursuit with team radios not in use, she ended up finishing 75 seconds clear.

"It feels incredible. I couldn't believe it," Kiesenhofer said after claiming the biggest victory of her career to date.

"Even when I crossed the line, it was like, 'Is it done now? Do I have to continue riding?' Incredible."

Such was the huge gap, Van Vleuten initially thought she was victorious when crossing the line, only to be quickly informed that was not actually the case.

"Yes, I thought I had won. I'm gutted about this, of course," she confirmed to the media afterwards.

"At first I felt really stupid, but then the others (her team-mates) also did not know who had won."

Still, Van Vleuten can celebrate securing an Olympic medal five years on from the horrific crash when leading the race at the Rio Games.

At the head of the field with 10km remaining, she came off her bike during the final descent, suffering severe concussion and small fractures to her back.

Elisa Longo Borghini claimed the final place on the podium this time around, securing a bronze medal in the road race for a second successive Olympics.

The Italian finished ahead of Lotte Kopecky of Belgium and Marianne Vos, the Dutch rider who triumphed at London 2012.

Jon Rahm has been ruled out of competing at the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Spanish Olympic Committee announced the world number one had returned a positive result on his third PCR test after competing at The Open at Royal St George's, having previously recorded two negative outcomes ahead of his appearance at the Games.

American Bryson DeChambeau was also ruled out of competing for the same reason on Sunday, having not yet travelled to play in Japan.

For Rahm, it is the second time he has tested positive in as many months. He had to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour when leading by six shots after 54 holes.

The 26-year-old won the U.S. Open upon his return to action, securing the first major of his career by one shot thanks to a birdie-birdie finish on a dramatic Sunday at Torrey Pines.

With a shortage of time and considering the health protocols in place for the Olympics, a replacement will not be selected. Spain still has one competitor left in the field in Adri Arnaus, the world number 166.

As for DeChambeau, he admitted to being "deeply disappointed" at missing out on Tokyo.

"Representing my country means the world to me and it is was a tremendous honour to make this team," he said in a statement released by the PGA Tour.

"I wish Team USA the best of luck next week in Tokyo. I will now focus on getting healthy, and I look forward to returning to competition once I am cleared to do so."

Patrick Reed will replace him, provided he clears coronavirus tests scheduled on Sunday and Monday before departing for Japan.

 

Naomi Osaka is feeling "a little bit refreshed and happy again" after returning to tennis with a convincing 6-1 6-4 triumph over Zheng Saisai in her Tokyo 2020 opener.

The four-time grand slam winner has not featured since the first round of the French Open two months ago where she abandoned her campaign following a warning she risked expulsion over her refusal to take part in news conferences during the tournament.

Osaka, who is the reigning US and Australian Open champion, then decided to skip Wimbledon after opening up on her battles with anxiety and depression.

The 23-year-old was granted the honour of lighting the flame for Tokyo 2020 on Friday and two days later made a successful return at the Ariake Tennis Park, where she represents one of Japan's greatest medal hopes for the Games.

"I feel like, more than anything, I'm just focused on playing tennis. This, playing the Olympics, has been a dream of mine since I was a kid, so I feel like the break I took was very needed," she said.

"But I feel definitely a little bit refreshed and happy again.

"I felt really nervous being in Japan and playing here for the first time in maybe two years, and for it to be my first Olympics. 

"It was definitely really nerve-wracking. But I am glad I was able to win, she is a very tough opponent.

"It's been a while since I played but I feel, more than anything, just happy to be out here. We are playing in a pandemic, and it is really tough for everyone."

Asked how she felt to be talking to the press again, she said: "For me, honestly I don't feel that weird about it.

"It might feel weird to you guys, but I don't know. I'm happy that I guess you guys are asking me questions but more than anything I was just focused on playing tennis and I guess I feel a little bit out of my body right now."

Osaka then revealed that her starring role in Friday's opening ceremony came about in March.

"I was super honoured," she said. That’s a position you dream about and not anyone can do it so when they asked me if I wanted to I was very surprised but very honoured and I'm just happy to be here and happy to play, especially in Tokyo."

The playing conditions have been a quite literal hot topic over the first two days, with the sweltering heats causing issues for players.

Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic were among those to speak out about the decision not to play matches later in the day Tokyo, where temperatures have regularly been above 30 degrees.

Osaka, though, has no such issues, adding: "It feels fine for me. I have played a couple of tournaments here, of course they resurfaced it since I was last here, but I love being here, and I actually really like the weather."

Tunisian teenager Ahmed Hafnaoui admits he surprised even himself with his men's 400m freestyle gold medal victory at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.

Hafnaoui, who turned 18 in December, stormed home from lane eight to win the gold in a major shock, ahead of Australia's Jack McLoughlin and USA's Kieran Smith.

The 18-year-old's time of 3:43:36 beat his personal best by almost three seconds, while bettering his prelims time by two seconds.

"Of course I was surprised with myself. It's unbelievable," Hafnaoui said at the news conference.

"I believe when I touched the wall and I saw myself first. I was so surprised."

Hafnaoui was only the second Tunisian to ever make an Olympic swimming final and claimed his country's second medal in the pool.

"I was in tears, I was in tears in my eyes because when I see the flag of my country and I hear the anthem in the background, it was great," he said. "I’m so proud of it."

Australian quartet Bronte Campbell, Meg Harris, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell broke the world record as they won gold in the women's 4x100m freestyle relay.

Anchored by Cate Campbell, the Aussies won in 3:29:69 ahead of Canada and the USA. It was Australia's first goal medal of the Tokyo Games.

The USA's Chase Kalisz won the men's 400m individual medley, while Japan's Yui Ohashi triumphed in the women's equivalent.

 

Top seed Barty bundled out, Osaka cruises

Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo stunned 2021 Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty in straight sets in the first round of the women's tennis singles.

Sorribes Tormo won 6-4 6-3 over the Australian, the world number one missing out on a first Olympic medal having looked well below her best.

The Spaniard controlled the baseline, while Barty only managed to land 42 per cent of her first serves.

Second seed Naomi Osaka cruised past Zheng Saisai 6-1 6-4 in her Olympic debut, returning to the court in style following a hiatus after her French Open withdrawal.

Third seed Aryna Sabalenka had no trouble dispatching Poland's Magda Linette 6-2 6-1.

Men's fourth seed Alexander Zverev eased past Lu Yen-hsun 6-1 6-3.

 

First-ever skateboarding gold

Skateboarding made its Olympic debut on Sunday, with local Yuto Horigome crowned the sport's first gold medallist in the men's street event.

World number two Horigome qualified in the semi-finals in sixth after scores totalling 33.75 but dominated the final with 37.18.

The Japanese finished ahead of Brazil's Kelvin Hoeffler with 36.15 and Jagger Eaton on 35.35.

Horigome landed three huge tricks in a row in the final, while American favourite Nyjah Huston stumbled down to seventh after four straight falls.

 

Olympic record in shooting final

Vitalina Batsarashkina won gold in the women's 10 metre air pistol shooting ahead of Bulgaria's Antoaenta Kostadinova and China's Jiang Ranxin.

The Russian tallied an Olympic record 240.3 points, finishing marginally ahead of Kostadinova on 239.4.

"I did not set a goal to win or to get into the top three or even into the final," she said. "I just set the goal to shoot like I can, to show everything that I can."

 

Chinese gold in diving

China won gold in the women's synchronized 3m springboard diving as Shi Tingmao and Wang Han edged out Canada and Germany.

The Chinese duo scored 76.5 with their last dive to tally 326.4 points and win China's fourth gold medal at the Tokyo Games.

The reigning world champions were well ahead of the pack, with Canadian pair Jennifer Abel and Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu grabbing silver with 300.78. Germany's Lena Hentschel and Tina Punzel claimed the bronze with 284.97.

The gold was Shi's third, having won the individual 3m platform title and this event with Wu Minxia in 2016.

Ash Barty's chances of winning singles gold at Tokyo 2020 came to a juddering halt at the first hurdle as she suffered a shock 6-4 6-3 to Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo.

The world number one and recently crowned Wimbledon champion was among the favourites for glory in the women's event but put in an uncharacteristically error strewn display at the Ariake Tennis Park.

In total, the amiable Australian racked up a whopping 55 errors in a match that lasted a little over an hour and a half.

Sorribes Tormo had never faced off against Barty before but kept cool amid the stifling Tokyo conditions to progress to a second-round tie with Fiona Ferro of France.

It also marked the first time the 24-year-old had ever beaten a player ranked number one in the world.

Barty's Tokyo adventure is not over just yet, though. On Saturday she and childhood friend Storm Sanders made it through round one of the women's doubles with a 6-1 6-2 beating of Japanese Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya.

Bryson DeChambeau described himself as "desperately disappointed" after a positive test for COVID-19 ruled him out of competing in the golf competition at Tokyo 2020.

A statement from the PGA Tour confirmed the 2020 US Open champion failed the final testing protocol before heading out to the Japanese capital to represent Team USA.

In his place comes Patrick Reed, who is undergoing testing on Sunday and Monday before departing for Japan.

Should he clear that hurdle Reed will become a two-time Olympian having also competed at Rio 2016. He joins Justin Thomas, Open Championship winner Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele as part of a star-studded USA line-up in the men's event.

"I am deeply disappointed not to be able to compete in the Olympics for Team USA," said DeChambeau.  

"Representing my country means the world to me and it is was a tremendous honour to make this team.

"I wish Team USA the best of luck next week in Tokyo. I will now focus on getting healthy, and I look forward to returning to competition once I am cleared to do so."

Reed added: "I am so excited to have the opportunity to represent our country and be a part of Team USA in Tokyo.

"I wish Bryson nothing but the best, and I know how disappointed he is to not be able to compete, and I will do my best to play my best and represent our country."

The first Olympic skateboarding champion will be crowned on day two of the Tokyo Games.

Ariake Urban Sports Park will be the venue for the first skateboarding action in Olympic history on Sunday.

Elsewhere, it will be the turn of the women to contest the cycling road race after Richard Carapaz produced a brilliant ride to take gold for Ecuador on Saturday.

Stats Perform picks out of some of the standout action to look out for at the end of the opening weekend of competition.

HUSTON FAVOURITE TO MAKE SKATEBOARDING HISTORY

The men's street will be the first skateboarding event, with four heats followed by a final at 12:25 local time.

Nyjah Huston of the United States is the favourite to top the podium, with 16 street skateboarding medals to his name in the X Games.

Tokyo-born Yuto Origome won gold at the World Street Championships in Rome this year and it would be a great story if he can follow that up with an Olympic triumph on home soil.

Skateboarding great Tony Hawk said on Saturday of the sport's introduction: "I'm surprised it took this long for them to figure it out.

"I believe they needed a youthful energy to the summer Games and it's overdue."

DUTCH DUO UNPRECEDENTED DOUBLE

Anna van der Breggen and Marianne Vos have already won Olympic gold medals and they will go in search of a second in the women's road race.

No female cyclist has won the event twice, but the 2012 champion Vos and defending champion Van der Breggen will start the course at Musashinonomori Park looking to achieve that feat.

EYES ON THE POOL – AND ON THE BEACH

The first swimming medals of the Games will be handed out on Sunday following Saturday's heats.

There is an open field in the men's 400 metre medley final – the first event of the day – after home favourite Daiya Seto failed to qualify.

The women's event does feature Hungary's Katinka Hosszu, though, as she aims to protect her 2016 gold, won with a world-record time that stands to this day.

Meanwhile, Australia will take to the pool confident of another gold in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay final, boasting the title, the world record and by far the best qualifying time.

A new water sport should garner some attention, though, as surfing makes its Olympics bow.

Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach – preferred to a wave pool – plays host for the first and second rounds on Sunday.

Reigning world champions Italo Ferreira and Carissa Moore will hope it is a debut to remember.

USA TO GET ON THE BOARD?

While China are sitting pretty already with four medals, the United States will hope not to have to wait too much longer for their first.

Not since Munich 1972 had they ended the first day of the Games without a medal as was the case on Saturday.

The basketball medals are a long way off being handed out, but plenty of American focus will be on Team USA's opener against France.

Preparations for Kevin Durant and Co have not been ideal and Les Bleus beat USA at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

China lead the way with four medals after the opening day of the Olympics, as Richard Carapaz doubled Ecuador's all-time tally of golds in Tokyo.

Yang Qian was the first athlete to strike gold in the Japanese capital, winning the women's 10-metre air rifle competition for China.

Sun Yiwen also claimed a gold medal for China in the women's epee individual fencing event, while compatriot Hou Zhihui came out on top with an Olympic record in the women's 49kg weightlifting.

Pang Wei claimed China's other medal on the opening day, taking bronze in the men's 10m air pistol event.

Carapaz produced a sensational ride to win the men's road race title, becoming the second athlete from Ecuador to win an Olympic gold medal.

Host nation Japan and Italy are joint-second in the medal table with a gold and a silver apiece.

There were three medals for South Korea, including a triumph for Kim Je Deok and An San in the first mixed team archery event.

The United States remain notably absent from the primitive medal table, though, having ended the first day of the Games without a medal for the first time since Munich 1972.

 

Richard Carapaz and the rest of Ecuador are "over the moon" after his victory in the men's cycling road race on Saturday.

Carapaz – who finished third in the general classification of the Tour de France earlier this month – crossed the finish line on the Fuji speedway well over a minute ahead of his nearest rivals to clinch Ecuador's second Olympic gold medal.

Meanwhile in the tennis, Andy Murray, who clinched gold in the singles at the 2012 and 2016 Games, started strongly with his doubles partner Joe Salisbury, as Team GB overcame French favourites Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

There was a shock for 2008 gold medallist Phil Dalhausser, as he and fellow American Nick Lucena fell foul of Dutch duo Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer, while Naohisa Takato won Japan's first gold of the Games.

 

CARAPAZ CLAIMS RARE ECUADOR TRIUMPH

Carapaz came close in Le Tour, but ultimately could not match the power of Tadej Pogacar, who defended his title in cycling's prime road race.

Yet on the slopes of Mount Fuji, the South American came up with the goods to deliver a long-awaited success for Ecuador.

"My country is over the moon right now. It's the second Olympic medal in the history of my country," he told a news conference after his success, with Tour champion Pogacar claiming bronze behind Belgium's Wout Van Aert.

"The last medal that we won was 25 years ago, so it's a very special moment. It's the first medal in cycling, and cycling is a big sport in my country."

Carapaz's triumph came as good news for Geraint Thomas, who crashed out of the race after colliding with his British team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart.

"Couldn't be happier for Richard Carapaz," tweeted Thomas – the Ecuadorian's fellow INEOS Grenadiers rider. "To finish on the podium at the Tour and win gold a week later is just incredible. Enjoy it mate. King of Ecuador."

MURRAY STARTS STRONG

It has been a long comeback trail for Murray, who was at the top of his game when he won his second Olympic gold medal back in 2016.

He faces a stern test in the singles on Sunday, when he goes up against Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime, and while a defence of that win may be unlikely, he and Salisbury made good progress in the doubles.

Murray was a silver medallist in the mixed doubles at the London Games, and along with Salisbury had too much for second seeds Mahut and Herbert, with the pair needing just 75 minutes to win 6-3 6-2.

"I think we have the potential to be a really good team," said Murray. "We were well deserved winners today – we created lots of chances, but not every doubles match is like that.

"If we keep the same sort of attitude and everything, prepare diligently, I think we've got a chance of doing well."

Murray's younger brother Jamie also enjoyed a fine start, as he and Neal Skupski came from behind to beat Argentina's Andres Molteni and Horacio Zeballos in a final-set tie-break.

TAKATO GETS JAPAN UP AND RUNNING

Naohisa Takato won Japan's first gold medal of the Tokyo Games, as he triumphed in the men's under-60kg judo final against Yang Yung-wei of Taiwan.

Takato, a three-time world champion and a bronze medallist in Rio, claimed a fitting victory for Japan in a sport that originated in the country, with the event taking place at the famous Nippon Budokan venue.

He had to beat Yeldos Smetov of Kazakhstan in a gruelling semi-final. Smetov shared the bronze medal with France’s Luka Mkheidze.

A shock earlier in the day saw Robert Mshvidobadze drop out in the last 16.

DALHAUSSER'S STRUGGLES CONTINUE, NO JOY FOR SETO

It has been a difficult start to the Games for Beijing beach volleyball champion Dalhausser, who had to quarantine after he was deemed a contact of Taylor Crabb. He was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test, which has dented the United States' hopes.

Dalhausser could only train with Lucena on two occasions prior to Saturday's meeting with Meeuwsen and Brouwer and the lack of sharpness told as the Dutch prevailed 21-17 21-18 at the Shiokaze Park arena.

There was also no joy for home favourite Daiya Seto. The Japanese swimmer, who won a bronze medal in 2016, had been tipped to shine in the men's 400m individual medley, yet failed to qualify for the final as he finished ninth in the heat.

"In Rio I went out too fast [in the prelim] and didn't recover for the final. In the last 100 [today] I didn't let it all out. It was a misjudgement. The pressure wasn't too much," Seto said afterwards.

"I have the 200m butterfly and 200IM. I'll just forget what happened and focus on my events."

The United States returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion to kick-start their bid for Olympic glory, while Barbra Banda tied a Games record with a second successive hat-trick for Zambia.

Sweden had sensationally put an end to USA's 44-match unbeaten streak at the start of the women's tournament, with Megan Rapinoe admitting the beaten world champions had "played a bit tight" in a 3-0 defeat.

However, Vlatko Andonovski's side responded impressively to that setback on Saturday, thrashing New Zealand 6-1 in Saitama, in the process registering their largest margin of victory in an Olympics fixture.

Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan gave USA a 2-0 half-time lead, the latter on target to mark her 100th cap. Further efforts from Christen Press and Alex Morgan added to the score after the break, while they were helped out by their opponents scoring two own goals.

It is the Swedes who sit on top of the table, though, as a strong second-half performance sealed a 4-2 triumph against Australia.

Meanwhile, Banda equalled the record for most goals scored by a woman at a single Olympics, matching Christine Sinclair's tally of six for Canada at London 2012 with another treble, this time against China.

Zambia's captain scored all her country's goals in a 10-3 loss to the Netherlands in their Group F opener. She followed up with three more in a thrilling 4-4 draw on Saturday, though China's Wang Shuang went one better as she hit four in a see-saw contest.

Vivianne Miedema later moved level with Banda on six goals at this Olympics. The forward had scored four as the Dutch crushed Zambia, then managed another two in a 3-3 draw against Brazil.

Ellen White continued her impressive start to the tournament with the winner as Great Britain defeated hosts Japan 1-0 to qualify for the last eight.

Having scored twice in the opening 2-0 win over Chile, White made it 13 goals in her past 14 international outings when heading in a cross from Lucy Bronze in the 74th minute.

Also in Group E, Canada overcame Chile 2-1 thanks to a brace from Janine Beckie, putting them second in the standings ahead of a clash with Team GB to finish the round-robin stage.

Adam Peaty set an early benchmark but home hope Daiya Seto suffered a shock on a busy first day of swimming at Tokyo 2020, one that saw Australian duo Brendon Smith and Emma McKeon shine.

Peaty is aiming to become the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title having taken gold at Rio 2016, while Seto made an inauspicious start to the Games.

Here is a round-up from Saturday's opening heats at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

EASY PEATY! RECORD HOLDER SAFELY THROUGH

Peaty has not been beaten in a 100m breaststroke race since 2014 and is aiming to lower his own record time of 56.88 seconds, which was set at the World Championships two years ago.

The dominant 26-year-old posted a 57.56 in a solid start to his Games, qualifying fastest ahead of Dutch rival Arno Kamminga (57.80). 

Peaty produced the eighth fastest time in history, while Kamminga set a Dutch record and is the only other swimmer who has broken 58 seconds in the event.

 

WOE FOR SETO AS SMITH STARS

These Games were meant to be about redemption for home medal hope Seto, the bronze medallist in a men's 400m individual medley race won by compatriot Kosuke Hagino four years ago.

Seto was the favourite in the race and seeking to atone after being barred last year after his involvement in an extramarital affair. He won world gold in the 400IM two years ago, but he sensationally failed to make it out of the heats at these delayed Olympics.

Seto, who returns to the pool next in the 200m butterfly on Monday, said: "It hurts and I'm frustrated at myself. It's my mistake and I have to owe up to it. What's done is done and not a whole lot I can do about it."

By contrast, it was Smith who qualified fastest, clocking a 4:09.27 to set a new Australian and Oceanic record. New Zealander Lewis Clareburt was second quickest, winning a tight third heat over 2016 silver medallist Chase Kalisz.

Smith's compatriots Elijah Winnington and Jack McLoughlin both made it through the men's 400m freestyle, with Germany's Henning Muhlleitner (3:43.67) fastest, just ahead of Austrian Felix Auboeck (3:43.91).

MCKEON, ZHANG SET THE MARK

There was more Aussie promise in the women's 100m butterfly – a seemingly wide-open event with three competitors having gone under 56 seconds this year.

McKeon – a winner of four medals in Rio, including relay gold in the 4x100m – and China's Zhang Yufei were two of those to achieve the feat and both recorded a 55.82 to top the timesheets in the heats, the former setting an Australian record for good measure.

Sarah Sjostrom, who holds the world record, was not even certain to race in this event after fracturing her elbow earlier this year, but posted an impressive 56.18 to go third quickest. The Swede was ahead of American Torri Huske (56.29), the third woman who has gone under 56 seconds this year.

Australia were also dominant in the women's 4x100m freestyle, their time of 3:31.73 almost two seconds better than the Netherlands.

Teenager Emma Weyant bettered her personal best with a 4:33.55 to comfortably post the best time in the women's 400 individual medley prelims. The 19-year-old - a winner at the U.S. Olympic trials - was almost two seconds quicker than Great Britain's Aimee Willmott (4:35.28).

Sena Irie has dreamt of winning an Olympic gold medal for Japan since she began boxing as a child, and a triumphant start at Tokyo 2020 has supercharged her self-belief.

The 20-year-old beat El Salvador's Yamileth Solorzano on a unanimous points verdict as all five judges scored her a comfortable winner, setting up a last-16 clash with Tunisia's Khouloud Hlimi Ep Moulahi.

Irie is a featherweight who took silver in the Asian and Oceanian Olympic qualifying event, held in Jordan almost 18 months ago. She also finished fifth at the 2019 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships.

Asked what a gold would mean at the Olympics, Irie said: "Boxing is a minority sport in Japan, but it would mean so much for the sport and for me.

"It's hard to say in words. But I have been training for this moment for 13 years and winning gold is what I have been dreaming about all that time."

Fighting at the Kokugikan Arena came as a relief to the young Japanese star, who had feared the Games would be cancelled.

"I felt very sad about that possibility as I wanted to compete in a Games in my home country," she said.

"All the athletes were sending messages to each other with what was happening until we heard the news the Games would go ahead. We were so happy then. But now I can try and win a medal for my country after getting through my first fight."

Irie will face stiff competition, with the Philippines' Nesthy Petecio also in the draw and seeking to add Olympic gold to the World Championships title she secured two years ago.

Petecio beat Irie at that event, but the Japanese fighter avenged that loss in the Olympic qualifiers.

After starting with a points win over DR Congo's Marcelat Sakobi Matshu in the first boxing match of Tokyo 2020, Petecio said: "This is my first Olympics but there are mixed emotions really. I want to enjoy it but I know I need to improve."

Petecio added: "This is a new medal to fight for. It's a chance for a new achievement and I have forgotten about what I have achieved in the past."

She will tackle Taiwanese number one seed Lin Yu-Ting next, and said: "It's a fight I am very excited about. I know she also will have been looking at facing me in the draw so it will be a great fight."

Professionals are mixing with amateurs at the Tokyo Games, and among the men's featherweights is 23-year-old American Duke Ragan, who has taken his first steps in the paid ranks.

Ragan snatched a split points win over Frenchman Samuel Kistohurry on Saturday and accused his opponent of turning their battle into "a wrestling match".

"The guy was like wrestling me, making it hard for me. It was a great fight though," said Ragan. "He did what he came to do to try to make it rough on me because guys know that I like to box and be on the outside.

"I was a bit hard-headed, going to try and do what I thought was right. I've got to listen to the eyes on the outside to make adjustments."

Naomi Osaka lighting the Olympic cauldron will have helped increase the exposure for the sport of tennis around the world, according to Novak Djokovic.

Osaka was given the honour of carrying the torch on the short final leg at the Japan National Stadium before walking the steps to light the flame and end the opening ceremony.

The four-time grand slam champion is the face of the Tokyo Games in her home country, creating extra pressure on her shoulders as she bids to strike gold.

Djokovic appreciates the absences of legendary names Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is a blow, but he believes Osaka's presence is crucial for tennis in the battle for media coverage at the Games.

"It cannot be better for our sport, you are representing yourself, your country but also your sport in the Olympic Games, you're trying to get the hype and the attention towards our sport as much as you possibly can, so we're all contributing to that in the Olympic Village," Djokovic said when asked about Osaka's role in Friday's ceremony.

"There's a lot of attention towards the tennis players which is great, from the other athletes which is very nice to see, very nice to experience.

"Obviously you don't have Roger or Rafa. They are big stars and legends of our sport, but still there's quite a lot of great athletes, top players. Naomi is a home favourite and a lot of eyes are on her.

"Being at home playing is a lot of pressure, but it's great for our sport just in general to see that there's a lot of attention towards it."

 

Djokovic was speaking after overcoming Hugo Dellien with ease in his opening outing in the men's singles tournament, the Serbian triumphing 6-2 6-2 in just over an hour.

The quick win allowed the recently crowned Wimbledon champion to avoid staying out for too long in the Tokyo heat, an issue that led to Daniil Medvedev calling for matches to be pushed back to later in the day, allowing players to compete during the evenings when the temperatures have dropped.

"I agree with him 100 per cent," Djokovic said of Medvedev's suggestion. "I actually asked as well.

"My team captain, Viktor Troicki, was speaking to the referee a couple of times. To be honest, I don't understand why they don't start matches at say 3pm.

"I've heard for tennis there is some kind of curfew they have to finish at midnight, but if that's the case, I've just finished the last match and it's not even 5pm, we still have seven hours to play. 

"They have lights on all the courts, they're going to make life much easier for all of us tennis players, I just don't understand why they don't move it. 

"It's actually for the television broadcasters even better, because the later you play, the better it is for the United States and the time zones in Europe.

"I don't know, maybe the ITF (International Tennis Federation) can give you a better answer to why they chose to be played in the middle of the day. I doubt they will change the decision, but we're hoping that they will."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.