Beijing — Tyson Gay coasted through two 100 meter preliminary heats, showing his left hamstring is just fine six weeks after hurting it at the U.S. Olympic trials.
World record-holder Usain Bolt and the guy he took it from, fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell, also advanced easily to the final 16. All three are expected to make today's final - perhaps the most highly anticipated event of the 10-day track and field meet at the Bird's Nest.
In the semis, Powell and Gay will run the same heat, while Bolt's biggest challenge in the other semi figures to be from America's Walter Dix and Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas.
"I feel pretty good. It felt pretty relaxed," Gay said after his second race. "I just wanted to make it through."
Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia won the 10,000 meters in an Olympic record 29 minutes, 54.66 seconds. Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse took silver, while Shalane Flanagan set an American record at 30:22.22 to win bronze. It was the first U.S. medal in the 10K since 1992.
In the men's 1,500, Bernard Lagat, Leo Manzano and U.S. team flagbearer Lopez Lomong all made it out of their first races.
The men's shot put was a big disappointment for the Americans. Instead of sweeping, they got only a silver from Christian Cantwell. Poland's Tomasz Majewski won gold.
Reese Hoffa, the reigning world champion, was seventh and his U.S. teammate Adam Nelson, the two-time Olympic silver medalist, threw with hurt ribs and didn't make it into the final eight.
"We expected more from ourselves," Nelson said.
Through today's first five events, the United States was atop the medals table with 48. China is second with 41, but the hosts lead with 26 gold, more than the entire haul of any delegation except the Americans.
Turns out, the U.S. women are as dominant as ever.
First they set an Olympic record with four homers in a 7-0 victory over Japan. Then they resumed a rain-stopped game against Canada, trailing 1-0. After being five outs from losing, they wound up winning by the lopsided score of 8-1.
The U.S. women started slowly, then got clicking, pounding Spain 93-55. Tina Thompson scored nine of her 17 points during a game-breaking 20-5 run in the third quarter and Lisa Leslie added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
With the win, the U.S. has 29 straight victories in Olympic contests. The last loss was to the Unified team in the 1992 semifinals.
An American won't win the men's singles title.
James Blake, the last hope left, lost to Chile's Fernando Gonzalez, who blew four match points before winning 6-4, 5-7, 11-9.
Blake then accused Gonzalez of failing to concede a point with Gonzalez serving at 8-9 in the final set. On the first point, Blake hit a backhand passing shot long but contended the ball hit Gonzalez's racket before landing, as TV replays confirmed.
"Playing in the Olympics, in what's supposed to be considered a gentleman's sport, that's a time to call it on yourself," Blake said. "Fernando looked me square in the eye and didn't call it."
Gonzalez said he was uncertain whether the ball hit his racket.
Gonzalez, seeded 12th, will play in Sunday's final against Rafael Nadal, who beat Novak Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to clinch his first Olympic medal. It was after midnight when Nadal won in dramatic fashion, scrambling to retrieve two overhead slams by Djokovic. The Serb then shanked a third overhead, and Nadal collapsed to the ground in jubilation.
In doubles, Roger Federer kept alive his hope for an Olympic gold medal, joining Swiss teammate Stanislas Wawrinka to upset top-ranked American twins Bob and Mike Bryan and win a spot in the final.
Venus and Serena Williams, both eliminated in singles Thursday, won twice to reach the semifinals in doubles, but Americans Lindsay Davenport and Liezel Huber were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual, of Spain.
The U.S. baseball team is in trouble. They fell to 1-2, lost a key player to an injury and have angered the mighty Cubans by accusing them of dirty play after losing to them 5-4 in 11 innings.
With China's president watching, the U.S. team coached by former Chinese star Jenny Lang Ping knocked off the hosts in five sets. The Americans are 3-2 overall, in good shape to advance. China fell to 2-2.
Natasha Kai scored on a header in extra time, sending the defending champion Americans into the semifinals with a 2-1 victory over Canada. The game was suspended for one hour and 40 minutes during the first half because of lightning.