Ueno into semifinals; Rousey loses in quarters
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 showdown with world silver medalist Ronda Rousey failed to materialize when the American 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 Katarzyna Pilocik of Poland.
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 Anett Meszaros of Hungary for her semifinal spot.
But Rousey, who had trouble getting inside her taller opponent's arms, had to go into overtime with Edith Bosch, and lost when the Dutchwoman 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 made 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, Hiroshi Izumi of Japan, the Athens silver medalist and a favorite to win in Beijing, struggled from the start, going into overtime in his first match and then losing 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 semifinals.
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, who won bronze in Athens and silver at the 2000 Sydney Games, had a first-round match against Ilias Iliades of Greece, who won gold in a lighter class in Athens and silver at the 2007 worlds.
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.