Modena, Italy, May 12, 2006 - Five of the eight top-seeded teams had successful starts in the US$200,000 Play Station Portable Italian Open as the fourth day of competition resumes here Friday with a 22-match schedule.
With 75 teams from 26 countries represented in the season opening event on the 2006 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, the Play Station Portable Italian Open has 24 teams still vying for the gold medal and the $32,000 first-place prize that will be awarded following Sunday’s finale.
Featuring reigning Olympic and SWATCH-FIVB World Champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh of the United States, Friday’s final two Play Station Portable Italian Open matches will determine the first two teams for Saturday’s semi-finals. The final two teams for the “final four” will be determined from Saturday’s opening four matches in the elimination bracket.
Joining the top-seeded May-Treanor and Walsh in the third-round of the winner’s bracket Friday are American rivals Rachel Wacholder and Elaine Youngs along with three teams from Brazil, and one tandem each from China, Finland and the Netherlands.
Eighth-seeded Rebekka Kadijk and Merel Mooren from the Netherlands challenge May-Treanor and Walsh while the fourth-seeded Wacholder and Youngs play the 12th-seeded Salgado sisters of Brazil. The two winners of those third-round matches play Friday evening for the first spot in the semi-finals.
Brazil has two other teams in the lower half of the winner’s bracket were the South Americans will be challenged China’s Wang Jie and Tian Jia and the Nystrom twins of Finland. Second-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca face the 26th-seeded Nystroms (Emilia and Erika) while third-seeded Renata Ribeiro and Talita Antunes play 22nd-seeded Wang Jie and Tian Jia.
With seventh-seeded Jennifer Kessy Boss and Nancy Mason of the United States being ousted Thursday after being upset by the Nystroms in the first round and being eliminated by a team from host Italy, teams from Brazil and Greece are the featured teams in the elimination bracket.
Fifth-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede, who were upset by the Salgados in an All-Brazilian second-round match 17-21, 21-16 and 17-15, have dropped into the lower half of the bracket and play 27th-seeded Chen Xue and Xi Zhang of China Friday afternoon. . Adriana and Shelda, the winningest team in SWATCH-FIVB World Tour history, are playing in their 100th international event. The pair has won 31 SWATCH gold medals.
After being upset by Wang Jie and Tian Jia of China Thursday, sixth-seeded Vassiliki Arvaniti and Vasso Karadassiou of Greece are now in the top-half of the bracket and play 21st-seeded Eiko Koizumi and Shinako Tanaka of Japan in an opening elimination match Friday.
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. Round two on the women’s SWATCH-FIVB World Tour will be staged May 24-28 in Shanghai where the men open their international season.