TOKYO (AP) — Naomi Osaka has the hopes of the entire host nation resting on her.
Novak Djokovic is attempting to accomplish something that no man has done before in tennis.
Both players are after something special at the Tokyo Olympics and both produced convincing victories Monday to reach the last 16 at Ariake Tennis Park.
Osaka crushed winners off both wings — forehand and backhand — seemingly at will in a 6-3, 6-2 victory over 49th-ranked Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland. Then Djokovic dispatched 48th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-4, 6-3.
"There's a lot of attention towards tennis as a sport in this Olympic Games," Djokovic said. "We are grateful, because we are representing our country, ourselves, but also our sport in the Olympic Village."
Despite this being her first tournament back from a two-month mental health break, Osaka's strong start is hardly a surprise considering that the Olympic tournament is being played on hard courts — the surface on which she has won all four of her Grand Slam titles.