The New Zealand women's rowing eight have powered into the final of their event with a come-from-behind win in the opening heat of the blue ribbon event of the regatta.
The world champions started slowly, with the Chinese crew earning an early lead, in front of Canada, the Kiwis and a fading Great Britain.
China held their lead for the first 1500m, but were overwhelmed by the fast-finishing Kiwis and Canadians in an exciting race.
But New Zealand had the legs, with the crew of Kelsey Bevan, Emma Dyke, Jackie Gowler, Kerri Gowler, Ella Greenslade, Grace Prendergast, Beth Ross, Lucy Spoors and cox Caleb Shepherd showing why they are considered medal favourites.
Kerri Gowler and Prendergast have a busy programme in Tokyo, dominating their pair heat to book a spot in the semifinals a couple of hours before the eight hit the water.
The men's eight fought hard to chase down a powerful Dutch crew in their heat, but a second-place finish means they will need to finish in the top two of the five-boat repechage later next week to qualify for the final.
Meanwhile, Kiwi George Bennett has finished 26th in the men's road race which was won by Ecuador's Richard Carapaz.
Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar was pipped to the silver medal from runner up in Paris, Belgium's Wout van Aert.
Bennett was in contention to fight for a medal, but was dropped alongside several other riders on the final mountain climb about 50km from the finish.
Fellow Kiwi Patrick Bevin wasn't classified after retiring midway through the race.
Elsewhere, Stephen Jones and Brook Robertson advanced to the semi-finals of the men's pair with a third-place finish in their heat on another busy day at the Sea Forest Waterway.
But it wasn't great news for the Black Sticks hockey men, who took an early lead against India, before falling 3-1 down early in the third quarter.
Stephen Jenness pulled a goal back for the Kiwis late in the frame, but despite dominating the final 15 minutes, New Zealand couldn't find an equalising goal.
The Kiwis play Japan on Tuesday, with games against Argentina, Australia and Spain to follow. The top four teams in each pool qualify for quarter-finals.
Gymnast Misha Koudinov has been eliminated from the apparatus finals of men's artistic competition, failing to finish inside the top eight in his group. He must finish inside the top 24 to make the all-round final.
Later on Saturday, the swimming competition gets underway, with Lewis Clareburt and Zac Reid in action.
The Football Ferns play their second group match against the world champions USA, with both sides needing a win to get their campaigns back on track.