Update: Sally Barkow (USA) defeated defending champion Nicole Souter (AUS) to secure her place in the final. Barkow will face Lucy MacGregor (GBR) who saw off Claire Leroy (FRA) to win the other semi-final 3-1.
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Original report: Day 4 - Semi-Finals Underway
Day four of the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship began with the sail-offs for the final two quarter-finals places. Ekaterina Skudina took on Anna Tunnicliffe while Renne Groeneveld was up against Julie Bossard.
Two of a possible five flights in the semifinals were sailed at the end of the day and the round robin series for fifth through eighth place has one flight remaining.
Some of the most exciting racing of the championship unfolded. The day started with the completion of a knockout series from the top repechage teams to determine the last two slots in the quarterfinals. Ekaterina Skudina and her team from Russia took on and defeated Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) whilst Renee Groeneveld (NED) gained the final slot for the Netherlands by beating Julie Bossard from France.
Quarter-Finals - first to three
There was a heartbreaking quarter-finals match up between Australians Nicky Souter and Katie Spithill where the former of the two top ranked teams, the defending champion, prevailed taking three straight wins. "I don't believe this has ever happened with our teams," said Australian coach Dayne Sharp. "That's the way it goes sometimes. We're happy to have one team still in it."
Claire Leroy (FRA) took on Genevieve Tulloch (USA) and was equally clinical, taking three wins to progress to the semi-final. It was a similar story in the match between Sally Barkow (USA) and Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) with the American team despatching the Russians 3-0. Lucy Macgregor (GBR) had a tougher challenge in her quarter-final against Renne with the Dutch team taking the first win before Mac came back to take three in a row.
The semi-final line up was decided: Leroy v MacGregor, Souter v Barkow.
After such a long and stressful day, the wind remained strong and the top four teams came out to spar for the semi-finals, and each race was a nail biter. Claire Leroy tied her series with Lucy Macgregor after pulling even with the Brits on the last downwind and just nipping them by a foot at the finish. They end the day tied one all.
In the other semi-final pairing, Sally Barkow's 2-0 lead in the first-to-three wins series against Nicky Souter belies the intensity of those matches. The two teams were practically overlapped both races and in one, Barkow passed Souter only to gain a penalty and a red flag where she had to take her penalty turns immediately. Barkow came back to win the race just before the finish.
Round Robin - Fifth to Eighth
In the round robin series to determine places five through eight, the matches were equally as exciting with the puffy, misty southerly dishing out race changing shifts and puffs each leg. The American team led by Genny Tulloch is leading the race for fifth with two wins followed by Groeneveld, Skudina and Spithill.
The semi-finals will be completed on Saturday and the march towards the championship title will be unlike any racing most have ever seen.
Semi-final Results (first to three wins)
Claire Leroy (FRA) and Lucy Macgregor (GBR) tied 1-1
Sally Barkow (USA) leads Nicky Souter (AUS) 2-0
5th to 8th round robin (one flight still to sail)
Genevieve Tulloch (USA) - 2 wins 0 losses
Renee Groeneveld (NED) - 1 win 1 loss
Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) - 1 win 1 loss
Katie Spithill (AUS) - 0 wins 2 losses
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All the latest details on the 2010 Worlds, together with an archive of results from previous championships is available on the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship microsite at www.sailing.org/wmatchworlds