When Olivia Price put Renee Groenveld (NED) into trouble in the pre-start of their third match race, the Dutch woman earned a penalty and that was always going to make it hard.
To compound the problem, the Aussies held a handy lead up the first beat and were still clear after the run, with the Dutch unable to cancel their penalty.
Despite the Dutch making gains in the second half of the race, even going slightly into the lead on the downwind, they could not get the penalty cancelled. They threw plenty of gybes at the Aussies, hoping for a mistake, and tried to force them out at the finish but Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty were equal to the task.
The score was 2-1 and Groenveld needed to win both remaining races to progress.
It was not to be. With the starboard advantage at the start of race four, the Dutch were able to keep Australia under control, winning the first beat and run. However, some clever sailing by Price allowed the Aussies to sneak past at the second top mark and they extended away to win the race and the match.
In other matches, three of the favourites have been put out of the contest. Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) lost to Silja Lehtinen (FIN) 3-1, Claire Leroy (FRA) lost to Tamara Dominguez (ESP) 3-0 and Lucy Macgregor (GBR) lost to Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) 3-2.
Tomorrow the losers will sail off for positions 5-8. On Friday Price will sail against Lehtinen and Dominguez will sail against Skudina for a place in the final.
On Saturday, the winners will race for the gold and silver medals and the losers will sail for the bronze.
- Roger McMillan