Acapulco, Mexico, October 20, 2006 - For the second-straight year and the third-time in the past eight years, Acapulco will host the world's best Beach Volleyball players as the 10th and final double gender event on the 2006 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour calendar “officially” begins here Tuesday.
Depending on the final list of men's entries, country quota playoff matches could be held on Playa Tamarindos Monday featuring teams from Brazil, Canada, Norway and the United States to determine the lineup for Tuesday's qualifying rounds and will advance eight teams to Wednesday's opening Main Draw rounds in the US$400,000 Corona Open.
The women's country quota matches will be played Tuesday for teams from Canada, Germany and the United States with the qualifier Wednesday and the opening Main Draw matches Thursday. The men's medal matches are scheduled for Saturday followed by the women’s finale Sunday as the gold medal teams will each share the $32,000 first-place prize.
The Corona Open is the 14th and final stop on the men’s 2006 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour calendar as reigning Olympic champions Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos have already clinched the season championship with five gold medal finishes and 13-straight "final four" appearances.
Emanuel and Ricardo, winners of a record 24 men’s FIVB titles since forming their partnership at the end of the 2002 season, are the defending Corona Open champions after defeating Pedro Cunha and Franco Neto 21-12 and 21-19 as Brazil captured all three medals.
The women’s 2005 Corona Open title was captured by Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca as the young Brazilians outlasted reigning Olympic and World championships Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the United States in the highest scoring match in SWATCH-FIVB World Tour history.
In defeating the Americans for the first-time after losing the 2005 SWATCH-FIVB World Championship title match four months earlier in Berlin, Juliana and Larissa posted a 28-26, 40-42 and 15-13 win in 100 minutes to claim the top spot on the Corona Open podium last October.
Another Corona Open title would give Juliana and Larissa a record for gold medal finishes in a season on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour as the Brazilians have captured seven titles in 2006 with 17-straight medal finishes on the international Beach Volleyball circuit.
While the men are ending 20 years of FIVB competition since the start of their tour in 1987, the women's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour has one remaining event in Thailand the week after the Corona Open in Phuket for the 15th and final stop on the 2006 calendar.
Host Mexico will have three teams in each competition as the Central American country hosts a double gender SWATCH-FIVB World Tour stop for the fourth-time. Competing in the men's tournament for Mexico will be the Ontiveros brothers (Lombardo and Ulises), Pablo Guzman/Juan Virgen and Tomas Hernandez/Hector Rojo. Mexican women's teams in the Corona Open are Diana Estrada/Vanessa Virgen, Haydee Lopez/Laura Miranda and Briseida Toledo/Yunuen Ruiz.
The Ontiveros brothers have won all three Mexican domestic events this season, including last weekend in Toluca where they defeated Hernandez and Rojo for the title. The Ontiveros placed 17th in last year’s Corona Open where they upset an Athens 2004 Olympic team from Austria in the first-round. All three of their 2005 Corona matches were three-setters as China’s Penggen Wu and Linyin Xu ousted the Mexicans.
Diana Estrada is part the top-ranked women's team on the Mexican circuit as she has won the last two domestic stops with Virgen. The pair defeated Lopez and Miranda in the Toluca finale. The 20-year old Estrada also placed ninth at the 2006 SWATCH-FIVB U-21 World Championships in Poland with Martha Revuelta.