Warsaw, Poland, August 31, 2006 - Two Beach Volleyball teams each from Brazil, China and Norway paced the 32-team Main Draw field here Thursday during the opening rounds of this week’s US$200,000 GE Money Bank Warsaw Open.
Also posting 2-0 Main Draw marks Thursday in the 11th women’s stop on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour schedule are the past two European championship teams, including 20th-seeded Alexandra Shiryaeva and Natalya Uryadova of Russia, who captured the 2006 continental title this past Sunday in the Netherlands.
Vassiliki Arvaniti and Vasso Karadassiou of Greece, who won the 2005 European Championships in Moscow, will face the young Russians in one of four opening matches in the third-round of the winner’s bracket Friday. The Greece/Russia victors will play the winners of the match between top-seeded Leila Barros/Ana Paula Connelly of Brazil and eighth-seeded Nila Ann Hakedal/Ingrid Torlen of Norway for a spot in Saturday’s semi-finals.
The bottom half of the winners bracket will feature the Chinese teams of second-seeded Tian Jia/Wang Jie and third-seeded Xu Chen/Zhang Xi. Both teams have captured SWATCH-FIVB World Tour gold medals this season with Tian Jia and Wang Jie winning the last women’s event 26 days ago in Klagenfurt, Austria.
Tian Jia and Wang will play 23rd-seeded Susanne Glesnes and Kathrine Maaseide of Norway in their first match Friday with the winner playing either Xu Chen and Zhang Xi, who won the second women’s SWATCH stop three months ago in China, or the sixth-seeded Salgado sisters (Carolina and Maria Clara) of Brazil for a “final four” berth.
In addition to the eight undefeated teams in the GE Money Bank Warsaw Open, 16 other tandems remain in contention for the $32,000 first-place prize that will be awarded Sunday following gold medal match in the inaugural women’s SWATCH-FIVB World Tour stop in Poland.
Katarzyna Urban and Joanna Wiatr, who placed fifth last week at the SWATCH-FIVB U-21 World Championships in Myslowice, Poland, became the first Polish team to win an “open” Main Draw match Thursday in the 15-year history of the women’s SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.
After dropping their first match to Xue Chen and Zhang Xi, the 30th-seeded Urban and Wiatr upset 19th-seeded Marie-Andree Lessard and Sarah Maxwell of Canada 21-17 and 21-14 to advance to an opening elimination match Friday morning against 29th-seeded Inese Jursone and Inguna Minusa of Latvia.