Britain's America's Cup team comes out fighting

When your back is to the wall you either fight or die and Britain's America's Cup team came out fighting as the Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta moved into the knockout phase.

Despite sporting a black eye, skipper Ben Ainslie nailed his Franco-German opponents on All4One in a carefully executed pre-start duel, fought for track advantage on the right of the 1.3-mile upwind course, won it, and held the lead all the way round.

Said tactician Iain Percy: "Ben gave us an excellent start; he really is the best in the business on that front, and from there on it was a pretty classic match race."

Team director Mike Sanderson added: "A really good day for us. It's nice to know, when the pressure is on, that we can sail a good race."

Team Origin, headed by Olympic Games deputy chairman Sir Keith Mills, now faces Sweden's Artemis, which has both America's Cup ambitions and will be a major player on this year's Audi MedCup circuit, for which Origin has built a new Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed TP 52-footer. Origin needs to win the best of three to secure a place in the semi-finals.

The other pairing to contest the fourth semi-final slot is Italy's Azzurra, winner of the Louis Vuitton regatta in Nice last November and chosen by the Franco-German All4one team. Table-topping Emirates Team New Zealand and the America's Cup challenger of record, Mascalzone Latino, earned automatic places in the semi-finals, and, with them, a day off.

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