By Scott Malone
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - World champion Dafne Schippers laid down a marker to indicate that the Dutch woman remains favorite to add the Olympic 200 meters crown to her list of honors after setting the fastest time in the semi-finals on Tuesday.
The former heptathlete started well and ran a magnificent bend on her way to an impressive 21.96 seconds in the first semi-final, finishing comfortably ahead of Jamaica's 100m gold medal winner Elaine Thompson, who ran a season's best 22.13.
Schippers, who was a disappointing fifth in Saturday's 100m final after setting her sights on two individual medals in Rio, said she still had plenty left in the tank in her bid to back up last year's magnificent world championship triumph in Beijing.
"I didn't run at a full 100 percent. I saw my rivals were falling a bit behind, so I could relax at the end," the 24-year-old told reporters. "You can't really save too much energy in a semi-final anyway."
American Tori Bowie, who took silver in the 100m, matched Thompson's time to win the third heat in 22.13, edging Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago, who ran 22.25 to also advance to Wednesday's final.
Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast won the second semi-final in a personal-best time of 22.28, ahead of Bulgaria's Ivet Lalova-Collio, who ran a season-best 22.42.
American Deajah Stevens (22.38) and Briton Dina Asher-Smith (22.49) will complete the eight-woman final line-up after the pair advanced as fastest losers behind Schippers in the first heat.
(Editing by John O'Brien)