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Murray struggling as Russians find rhythm
02:26 AEST Fri Aug 10 2012

Russia dominated as Australia's rhythmic gymnast Janine Murray struggled in last place after the first two rotations at the London Olympics.

Daria Dmitrieva upstaged teammate and defending Olympic champion Evgeniya Kanaeva as Russia went 1-2 in the first day of qualifying on Thursday.

Murray paid the price for a dropped ball in her opening routine, her 23.100 the lowest score with that apparatus.

She recovered with a 24.350 with the hoop - which ranked 21st on that apparatus - but her combined total of 47.450 placed her at the tail of the 24-woman field.

The Perth-based 22-year-old needed a big day with the clubs and ribbon on Friday to realise her stated ambition of finishing as the highest of the four wildcards in the event.

Dmitrieva went to the top of the leaderboard after two rotations with a total of 57.800 ahead of Kanaeva and Belarus' Liubou Charkashyna.

Kanaeva is the favourite to defend her individual title from Beijing and become the first two-time individual all-around champion in rhythmic gymnastics.

Kanaeva, competing with a gold hoop, was marked slightly down after losing control to score 28.100 thanks to a 9.500 difficulty tariff and good artistry.

She then followed up with a spectacular performance with the ball to score a huge 29.525 out of a possible 30 marks to place second with 57.625.

The top 10 following Friday's two rotations will progress to the all-around final on Saturday.

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