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  Modena  2006   Women's Open
11.05.2006 -  14.05.2006


“Winning” Sister Acts at SWATCH-FIVB World Tour Opener

Modena, Italy, May 11, 2006 - Led by the Nystrom twins of Finland and the Salgados of Brazil, It was “family” day at the US$200,000 Play Station Portable Italian Open here Thursday as four sets of sisters combined to win six of eight matches in the season opening women’s Beach Volleyball event on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.


The Fins and Brazilians each won a pair of matches Thursday to advance to the third-round of the winner’s bracket Friday.  Both teams had to qualify for the 32-team Main Draw Wednesday with the Nystroms earning one of eight berths while the Salgados ended up as “lucky losers” due to the withdrawal of teams from Cuba.


The Schwaigers of Austria and the Bulgarian Yanchulovas each split a pair of matches Thursday to remain in contention in the double-elimination event being held at three sites in the northwest Italian province of Emilia Romagna.  Like the Nystrom twins and the Salgado sisters, the Schwaigers also had to play in the 46-team qualifier Wednesday to earn a Main Draw berth while the Yanchulovas earned an automatic berth due to their SWATCH ranking.


Seeded 26th in the Main Draw, the 22-year old Nystroms (Erika and Emilia) started play Thursday by scoring a 23-21 and 21-15 win over seventh-seeded Jennifer Kessy Boss and Nancy Mason of the United States.  The Nystroms then validated the upset with a 21-19 and 21-17 win over 23rd-seeded Rieke Brink-Abeler and Hella Jurich of Germany.


“The big difference this year is coaching,” said Emilia Nystrom.  “Karachalios (Spyridon from Greece) has done a great job in preparing us for the season.  We have also been training with the Greek teams and this has helped us tremendously in playing practice matches against quality competition.  We are thrilled to get through the first day without a defeat.”


With a ninth-place guaranteed to match their best performance on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, the Nystroms will challenge second-seeded and defending SWATCH points champions Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca of Brazil in one of the four winner’s bracket matches to open play Friday.


The American tandems of Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh and Rachel Wacholder/Elaine Youngs also won both of their matches Tuesday along with Brazil’s Renata Ribeiro/Talita Antunes, China’s Wang Jie and Tian Jia and Rebekka Kadijk/Merel Mooren for the Netherlands.


The top-seeded May-Treanor and Walsh will face the eighth-seeded Dutch while fourth-seeded Wacholder and Youngs are challenged by the 12th-seeded Salgado in the top-half of the winner’s bracket.  The two victorious teams will play later Friday for a spot in Saturday’s semi-finals.


The Salgado, who split a pair of qualifying matches Wednesday before being awarded a “lucky loser” berth in the Main Draw, upset Brazilian rivals Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede 17-21, 21-16 and 17-15 in their second match Thursday.  Adriana and Shelda, the winningest team in SWATCH-FIVB World Tour history, are playing in their 100th international event.  In addition, Shelda’s younger sister (Shaylyn) was eliminated Tuesday in the country quota matches by the Salgados.


Renata and Talita will play the Chinese in their first match Friday with the winner playing either Juliana/Larissa or the Nystroms for the second spot in the semi-finals.  Renata and Talita won a pair of SWATCH titles last season and are the only team to defeat Juliana and Larissa this season by scoring a domestic win at a February event.


Tian Jia, who placed third at the 2005 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships in Berlin with Wang Fei, is playing for the first-time with Wang Jie.  The Chinese pair posted a pair of wins over higher-seeded teams from the Netherlands and Greece.


Sixteen other teams remain in contention for the gold medal with one setback each.  The Play Station Portable Italian Open is being played at three sites, including the Foro Boario in Modena, the Piazza Re Astolfo in Carpi and the Piazza della Rosa in Sassulo.  The SWATCH-FIVB World Tour continues through Sunday when the medal matches will be played on the Foro Boario centre court.  Twenty-two (2) matches will be played Friday with six more contests scheduled for Saturday.  Sunday’s gold medal team will share the $32,000 first-place prize.

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