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Tani, Paischer advance to semifinal

Aug. 09, 2008, 5 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) Ryoko Tani of Japan earned a chance at her third-straight judo gold by winning all of her preliminary bouts and advancing to the semifinals Saturday in the women's 48-kilogram division.

Austria's Ludwig Paischer, ranked No. 1 in the world in the men's 60-kilogram class, also made it to the semifinals.

The golds in both divisions were to be decided later Saturday.

Tani, who has not been beaten in a major international competition since 1996, had to go the distance with Sayaka Matsumoto of the United States in her first bout, cautiously dominating the match and winning on points. Matsumoto was scoreless.

China's Wu Shugen - and a roaring partisan crowd - was next. The two were tied on points halfway through, and though Tani turned up the pressure in the second half she failed to score, forcing the match into overtime. She came through with a throw after 29 seconds.

In the semifinal, Tani will battle Romania's Alina Dumitru, who was fifth in Athens but has won four consecutive European titles.

Tani would be the first woman to win three consecutive judo golds. Compatriot Tadahiro Nomura won three golds in men's, but didn't make the team this year because of an injury.

Cuba's Yanet Bermoy, who won the 2005 world championship when Tani sat it out to have a baby, will meet North Korea's Pak Ok Song in the other semifinal.

In men's, Paischer easily cruised into the second round after a first match "ippon" throw, setting up an early showdown with Britain's Craig Fallon, the 2005 world champion.

Fallon defeated Paischer on his home turf for the 2008 Vienna World Cup title, but Paischer got his revenge on Beijing's mats by beating Fallon - who had blood dripping off his face - with two koka points.

"I knew it was going to be a tough one, we know each other well," Fallon said. "He's had a good day and I really haven't felt up to it."

Paischer next took a yuko win over North Korea's Kim Kyong Jin to earn his spot in the semifinals against French judoka Dimitry Dragin, who is ranked 23rd in the world.

South Korea's Choi Min-ho threw his first three opponents to the ground to meet world No. 2-ranked Reuben Houkes of the Netherlands in the other semifinal.

Japan's Hiroaki Hiraoka crashed out in his first bout, losing on points to U.S. wrestler Taraje Williams-Murray. Hiraoka, the Asian champion, was seen a major threat for the gold. Williams-Murray then lost by throw to Venezuela's Javier Guedez Sanchez.

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