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Solid Effort Lands Russians in Third
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A strong showing left Russia in third place Sunday with one subdivision remaining in the Olympic women's qualification competition in Beijing.

After three of four subdivisions, China still leads the United States, with Russia taking third ahead of Romania, Australia, Japan, Great Britain, Italy, Ukraine and Germany. The top eight teams advance to Wednesday's team finals.

World uneven bars champion Ksenia Semyonova led Russia, earning the team's top mark (16.475 on bars).

Veteran Anna Pavlova competed two solid vaults and is a lock to compete in vault finals, where she is the defending bronze medalist. She took the team's top score on balance beam, 15.825, right ahead of Semyonova and Afanasyeva, who tied with 15.775. (Afanasyeva is ranked ahead of her teammate because of a tiebreak.)

Yekaterina Kramarenko took the team's top score on floor exercise (15.150; 1 1/2 to triple full; piked full-in) and the second highest on uneven bars (15.550).

Russia's only major breaks were falls on beam in the third rotation from 2004 Olympian Lyudmila Grebenkova (double turn) and Kramarenko (punch front).

While Russia could be pleased with its outing, Russian-born Australian Dasha Joura had a disastrous day. She fell on floor exercise (knee down on double layout; 13.450) and balance beam (dismounted with a layout; 12.475) for 33rd all-around so far. She also ranked fourth on her Australian team behind teammates Shona Morgan (14th), Georgia Bonora (17th) and Ashleigh Brennan (24th). Joura, the all-around silver medalist at the 2007 Good Luck Beijing test event, was Australia's top medal hope in Beijing.

Ukraine began its day with disappointment when former world champion Irina Krasnyanskaya fell on a front aerial on balance beam, ruining her chances of reaching the final. The team struggled mightly on floor exercise and vault, putting up only four gymnasts and having to count all scores (including 12.000 on floor from Alina Kozich). The team ended on a high note on uneven bars, however, with two possible finalists. Anastasia Koval (16.325) and Daria Zgoba (15.675) both hit their exercises to rank third and seventh, respectively, so far.

Germany ranks last with multiple errors, although five-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina performed solidly in her attempt to qualify to her first Olympic vault final, ranking third.

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