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Volleyball champions Serbia beaten

• Olympics 2004: Special report 

ATHENS, Greece -- Defending champions Serbia and Montenegro were eliminated from the men's Olympic volleyball tournament after a thrilling encounter with Russia.

Sergey Baranov hit the winning spike to give the Russians a 3-1 (29-27 23-25 27-25 28-26) quarter-final victory and gain revenge for their defeat in the Sydney final four years ago.

Serbia, still missing leading player Ivan Miljkovic who was spending a third day in hospital with a mystery virus, looked finished in the fourth set when they trailed 20-15 and two sets to one.

But the champions rallied back to 22-22 and Andrija Geric produced a vital block at match point to keep them in the tie.

But, led by the free-scoring pair of Serguey Tetyukhin (21 spikes, 22 points) and Baranov (14 spikes, 17 points), Russia pressed on to win the set and the match.

Gardner crashes out

Meanwhile, Rulon Gardner, one of the biggest stars of the 2000 Sydney Games, lost 4-1 to Kazakhstan's Georgi Tsurtsumia in his Greco-Roman semifinal.

The American appeared in a state of shock when Tsurtsumia somehow pulled off the winning three-point move in their 2641/2-pound (120kg) match.

However, he recovered to beat Sajad Barzi of Iran 3-0 to claim the bronze medal, then tearfully untied his shoes and left them in the center of the ring -- a traditional sign of retirement

Dutchwoman defends her title

Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands defended her Olympic individual dressage gold medal with a come-from-behind victory over Germany's Ulla Salzgeber.

Van Grunsven had a superb effort in the final Grand Prix Freestyle to overtake her German rival and win her second straight gold to add to her silver in 1996 with a score of 79.278 from the three stages of the dressage.

Her score had been revised upward after the medal ceremony -- a common occurrence in dressage.

Sydney bronze medallist Salzgeber, who had led after the first two Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special rounds, claimed the silver medal with 78.833. Spain's Beatriz Ferrer-Salat took the bronze medal with a combined score of 76.667.

The Dutchwoman riding Salinero, a 10-year-old gelding, was clearly the superior rider in Wednesday's final round and was amply rewarded by judges who gave her top marks of the round -- 85.750 per cent.

Netherlands on course for treble

Defending men's hockey champions the Netherlands beat Germany 3-2 in the first Olympic semi-final to keep alive their chances of winning the Olympic title three times in succession.

In Friday's final, the Dutch will meet Australia, who beat Spain 6-3 in the other semi-final match.

A fifth-minute penalty stroke by Teake Taekema and second half field goals by Marten Eikelboom and Teun de Nooijer brought the Dutch victory, while Matthias Witthaus and Christoph Beckmann struck in each half for the Germans.

Australia have made the finals three times in the past but have yet to win a gold medal to add to their haul of three silvers and three bronzes.

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