Japan's Ueno in judo semis; Rousey of US loses

Aug. 13, 2008, 3:24 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) Athens gold medalist Masae Ueno plowed her way to the semifinals of the women's 70-kilogram judo competition Wednesday, but a much-awaited Olympic showdown with world silver medalist Ronda Rousey of the United States failed to materialize when Rousey lost her quarterfinal bout.

Ueno and Rousey started powerfully, winning their first two bouts by ippon.

Rousey, whose mother was world champion in 1984, easily pinned Nasiba Surkieva of Turkmenistan, then did it again against Poland's Katarzyna Pilocik.

Ueno began with a pin, then threw China's Juan Wang for what looked like an ippon win. The judges ruled it wasn't quite good enough, but Ueno came back seconds later with another throw that made the grade.

Ueno took just over a minute to dispose of Hungary's Anett Meszaros for her semifinal spot.

But Rousey, who had trouble getting inside her taller opponent's arms, had to go into overtime with Edith Bosch of the Netherlands, and lost when Bosch unleashed a counterthrow with less than 2 minutes to go.

Though out of the gold running, Rousey still has a chance at bronze. It would be the first medal in women's judo for the U.S. since the event got on the official Olympic roster in 1992. U.S. women won silver and bronze when judo was a demonstration sport in 1988.

Bosch will meet Ueno in the semifinals, with Cuba's Anaysi Hernandez and Germany's Annett Boehm in the other semifinal bout. Both won all their preliminary bouts with ippon.

In men's 90-kg, Japan's Hiroshi Izumi, the Athens silver winner and a favorite to win in Beijing, struggled from the start, going into overtime in his first match and then lost by ippon to Andrei Kazusenok of Belarus.

World champion Irakli Tsirekidze of Georgia safely made it through the preliminary rounds and will meet Ivan Pershin of Russia in the semis.

The other semifinal will be between France's Yves-Matthieu Dafreville and Amar Benikhlef of Algeria.

Working from a tough draw, the Netherlands Mark Huizinga, the Sydney gold and Athens bronze medalist, took on Ilias Iliades of Greece, who won gold in a lighter class in Athens and silver at the 2007 worlds, in his first-round match.

Huizinga went ahead early and scored an ippon to end the match with just over a minute left. He then lost to Switzerland's Sergei Aschwanden.