Kei Nishikori posted the biggest upset thus far in the men’s Olympic event ousting Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-4 in comprehensive fashion. Nishikori, who is a star in Japan, won the bronze back at 2016 Rio.
“It’s been a while I’ve been playing like this,” said Nishikori.
“I was struggling playing Top 10 players the last couple of months, or maybe all this year. This is the first time I’m playing a very solid match, so I’m happy of course beating Rublev, but also happy with my tennis today.”
There’s no home crowd, but Nishikori still feels the support.
“It’s good to be playing at home, especially this site,” Nishikori added. “I’ve been playing here a lot, sometimes it feels like home, though with no spectators it’s tough. But I have to enjoy playing here. I know many people are watching on TV, so I just have to focus on what I have to do on the court.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas came from a break down in the third to deny German 37-year-old Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 and become the first Greek man to win an Olympic match since 1924.
“Stats are important,” said Tsitsipas. “It’s a good thing to know that this happened. I’m a person that’s optimistic and I’m a person that wants more. It is an honour. It’s a big move for Greece. It’s a big move for this sport in Greece as well and there’s joy in doing that.”
Felix Auger-Aliassime was to face Andy Murray is a much-anticipated first round. But when the 2-time gold medalist withdrew, he was replaced by the 190th-ranked Max Purcell of Australia. The 23-year-old Purcell made the most of his good fortune stunning the World No. 15 6-4, 7-6(2).
“I went on court just before 3pm and I found out just before 11am, so I had about four hours,” said Purcell. “But the whole time I’ve been here I’ve been itching to play singles, so I’m always ready.
“I feel like the difference between players ranked 200 and Felix, or players around there, is just a bit of belief,” he said. “I felt like I could win, I believed I could win… and I won.”
Wimbledon semifinalist Hubert Hurkacz eased past Luke Saville 6-2, 6-4.
Karen Khachanov, Alexander Zverev and Diego Schwartzman were also winners. Newly-married Gael Monfils fell to Ilya Ivashka in a tight three setter.
After a tough start for the Americans, Frances Tiafoe and Marcos Giron were both winners in their singles debuts.
On tap Monday, Novak Djokovic returns to take on German veteran Jan-Lennard Struff. Djokovic leads the 31-year-old 5-0 in their series. The Serb is five wins from a gold medal.
World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev also returns to face Indian hope Sumit Nagal.
Alexander Zverev takes on Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan and Pablo Carreno Busta battles Marin Cilic.
MONDAY TOKYO OLYMPICS SCHEDULE
Centre Court – starting at 11:00
WS 2 GOLUBIC Viktorija (SUI) vs (2) OSAKA Naomi (JPN)
MS 2 (4) ZVEREV Alexander (GER) vs GALAN Daniel Elahi (COL)
WS 2 (3) SABALENKA Aryna (BLR) vs VEKIC Donna (CRO)
MS 2 (1) DJOKOVIC Novak (SRB) vs STRUFF Jan-Lennard (GER)
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