The -57kg division produced the most surprises in the championships so far. The fights in Pool A went according to expectations with Japan’s Kaori Matsumoto sailing through all her matches to enter the semi-final. Her compatriot Aiko Sato also managed to top Pool B, which was also expected.
However, big shocks came in Pool C and D. Telma Monteiro of Portugal, who is considered the biggest threat to Matsumoto (she had beaten the Japanese at the Baku World Masters in Jan) lost in her first round fight against Miryam Roper of Germany by ippon. Roper was eventually beaten by Rafaela Silva of BRA who topped Pool C. Marti Malloy of the USA was the dark horse who unexpectedly rose to the top of Pool D.
Matsumoto was the favorite to win in her semi-final bout against her teammate Sato but she got caught by a well-timed tai-otoshi which scored waza-ari. Sato immediately followed that up with a hold down, to win with waza-ari-awasatte-ippon. The American’s winning streak was broken by Brazil’s powerful Silva who smashed Malloy to the ground for ippon.
Bronze Medal Matches
Malloy fought a spirited match against Corina Caprioriu of Romania and nearly scored with a sumi-gaeshi attack in Golden Score. The Romanian, however, proved too powerful and won the bronze medal match with a powerful juji-gatame which had the American tapping very quickly to avoid her arm getting broken. Germany’s Roper was in good spirits going into her bronze medal match despite having to face the No. 1 seed Matsumoto. She fought hard, putting in some good attacks but was eventually knocked down for waza-ari and then pinned for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon.
Brazil’s Silva had previously beaten the No. 1 ranked, Matsumoto, in the Dussseldorf Grand Prix but she had never faced the No. 4 ranked Sato. The Japanese player was bubbling with confidence and could be seen smiling and jumping about as she warmed up before the match. She went after the Brazilian player right from the start and after a flurry of attacks, her opponent got a shido. Not one to coast, Sato continued her attacks until until she finally scored ippon with a perfectly-timed morote-seoi-nage.
SATO, Aiko (JPN) vs. SILVA, Rafaela (BRA)
MATSUMOTO, Kaori (JPN) vs. SATO, Aiko (JPN)
SILVA, Rafaela (BRA) vs. MALLOY, Marti (USA)
Bronze Medal Fights
CAPRIORIU, Corina (ROU) vs. MALLOY, Marti (USA)
ROPER, Miryam (GER) vs. MATSUMOTO, Kaori (JPN)
FERNANDEZ, Isabel (ESP) vs. CAPRIORIU, Corina (ROU)
ROPER, Miryam (GER) vs. ZABLUDINA, Irina (RUS)
1. SATO, Aiko (JPN)
2. SILVA, Rafaela (BRA)
3. CAPRIORIU, Corina (ROU)
3. MATSUMOTO, Kaori (JPN)
5. MALLOY, Marti (USA)
5. ROPER, Miryam (GER)
7. FERNANDEZ, Isabel (ESP)
7. ZABLUDINA, Irina (RUS)