Women's competition, Klagenfurt
From 28 July To 31 July 2004

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Potential Olympic Matches Highlight Women's A1 Opening Round
KLAGENFURT, AUSTRIA, July 29, 2004 - The opening round in the winner's bracket here Thursday of the women's A1 Grand Slam, presented by Nokia, featured six potential Beach Volleyball matches at 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

With the women's competition in the US$540,000 A1 Grand Slam featuring 20 of the 24 teams scheduled to compete in Athens, six of the top eight-seeded teams won as expected with the only upset victims being sixth-seeded Suzanne Lahme and Danja Musch of Germany and eighth-seeded Summer Lochowicz and Kerri Pottharst of Australia.

Winners of potential Olympic matches were Ana Paula Connelly/Sandra Pires of Brazil, Nicole Schnyder-Benoit/Simone Kuhn of Switzerland, Okka Rau/Stephanie Pohl of Germany, Kathrine Maaseide/Susanne Glesnes of Norway, Marrit Leenstra/Rebekka Kadijk of Netherlands and the Yanchulova sisters (Lina and Petia) of Bulgaria.

Leenstra and Kadijk posted a 21-19 and 21-18 win over Lochowicz and Pottharst, who will be seeking her third Olympic medal after posting a gold and bronze finishes with Natalie Cook at the Sydney and Atlanta Olympic Games, respectively.

The Yanchoulovas scored a 17-21, 21-15 and 20-18 win over Lahme and Musch Thursday. The Bulgarians also had to qualify for the Main Draw by defeating South African Olympians Leigh-Ann Naidoo and Julia Willand 21-15, 18-21 and 15-9 Wednesday.

Maaseide and Glesnes scored a 21-18 and 21-18 win over the 12th-seeded Dalixia Fernandez Grasset and Tamara Larrea Peraza of Cuba while Rau and Pohl defeated 13th-seeded Eva Celbova and Sona Novakova of the Czech Republic 17-21, 21-17 and 20-18. The Cubans and Czechs will be competing in their second-straight Olympics while their victors will be playing in their first Olympic Games.

Ana Paula and Pires, who placed second in the A1 Grand Slam after losing the gold medal match to Kerri Walsh and Misty May of the United States, scored an 18-21, 21-19 and 22-20 win over Norwegian Olympians Nila Ann Hakedal and Ingrid Torlen. Schnyder-Benoit and Kuhn survived a 28-26, 22-24 and 17-15 win over Greek Olympians Vasso Karadassiou and Efi Sfyri.

Other Olympic teams winning opening matches Thursday were Adriana Behar/Shelda Bede of Brazil, Holly McPeak/Elaine Youngs of the United States, Guylaine Dumont/Annie Martin of Canada and Lucilla Perrotta/Daniela Gattelli of Italy.

Other Athens Olympic contenders loosing their opening matches Thursday were Natalie Cook/Nicole Sanderson of Australia, Efthalia Koutroumanidou/Vassiliki Arvaniti of Greece. Two Olympic-qualifying teams from China and one from Japan are missing the A1 Grand Slam along with the ailing May (abdominal strain), who qualified with Walsh as the No. 1-ranked team.

The A1 Grand Slam is the 10th of 12 events for women this season on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour. The fourth A1 Grand Slam concludes Sunday when the winning team shares $41,000 for the first-place prize.