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SHANGHAI, China, July 25. IN the most stunning outcome of the water polo brackets this year at the FINA World Championships, Russia knocked two-time defending world champion USA out of medal contention in women' s play today with a 9-7 victory.
The Stars and Stripes had won the past two world titles in 2007 and 2009, and has not been off the podium since 2001 in Fukuoka. The U.S. could not stop Ekaterina Prokofyeva, who connected on five-for-seven shooting for more than half of Russia's goals. Melissa Seidemann and Lauren Wenger led the U.S. in the loss with two goals apiece.
Greece downed The Netherlands, 12-10, in another quarterfinal match. Antigoni Roumpesi led the way for Greece with a hat trick, while Iefke van Belkum had three goals for The Netherlands in the loss.
Italy bounced Australia from medal contention with a 14-12 win in the third quarterfinal match of the day. Roberta Bianconi touched the back of the net four times for Italy, while Giulia Enrica Emmolo had a hat trick as well. Four different players scored twice for Australia in the loss.
China then bested Canada in the final quarterfinal match of the day, 9-7. Sun Yating led the way with a hat trick, while Emily Jean Csikos also connected for a hat trick for Canada.
In the 9-12 semifinals, Cuba edged New Zealand, 11-10 in the first match. Danay Gutierrez More shouldered most of the load with a five-for-eight shooting performance for Cuba. Yanet Lopez Hernandez also chipped in a hat trick for the Cubans. Casie Lauren Bowry paced New Zealand with three goals of her own.
In the other 9-12 semifinal match, Hungary tripped up Spain, 17-13. Barbara Bujka connected for five goals, while Rita Keszthelyi notched four goals for Hungary in the win. Gabriella Szucs and Rita Dravucz also tallied hat tricks for Hungary, while Bianca Gil Sorli paced Spain with five goals in the loss. Anna Espar I Llaquet and Maria Del Carmen Garcia Godoy posted hat tricks for Spain as well.
Kazakhstan topped Brazil, 9-5, in the 13th-14th place classification match. Darya Vassilyeva and Yelena Chebotova each notched a hat trick for Kazakhstan in the victory, while Marina Zablith and Mirella Coutinho led Brazil with two goals each.
South Africa downed Uzbekistan, 6-5, in the 15th-16th place classification match. Kimberly Kay and Sarah Lee Harris tallied two goals for South Africa in the win, while five separate players notched goals for Uzbekistan in the loss.