Olympics-Fencing-Japan's top players defeated at quarter-final stage

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By Sakura Murakami

TOKYO (Reuters) -Two of Japan's top fencing hopes, Masaru Yamada and Yuka Ueno, were disappointed on Sunday in their quest for medals at the individual quarter-final stage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Competing in the men's epee individual event, Yamada was locked at 11-11 with Italian opponent Andrea Santarelli before finishing the bout two points behind, at 15-13.

"I guess you can't take risks when you get greedy," Yamada said, explaining how he avoided taking chances towards the end of the match, focusing instead on his aim for a medal.

Yamada said he had momentum and confidence before the Olympic Games were postponed last year.

"If I reminisce over what could have happened, it just sounds like an excuse," he said. "It was neither good nor bad, and everyone had the same condition."

Yamada said he would work towards overcoming his obstacles for the team event on Friday.

After winning his last point, Santarelli crouched on the floor and roared, while Yamada stood motionless.

Santarelli, who won silver for the men's epee team event at the 2016 Rio Olympics and came third in the epee individual event in the 2019 world championships, will face top-ranked Hungarian Gergely Siklosi in the semi-finals.

Ueno lost in the quarter-finals of the women's foil individual event to U.S. fencer Lee Kiefer, dashing Japanese hopes for a first medal for their female fencers.

Kiefer will face Russian Larisa Korobeynikova in the semi-finals.

(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Stephen Coates and Karishma Singh)

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