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  Montreal  2006   Women's Open
13.07.2006 -  16.07.2006


Brazil’s Leila & Ana Paula Net First SWATCH-FIVB World Tour Gold Medal

Montréal, Canada, July 16, 2006 - The 30-year olds defeated the 20-year olds here Sunday at the Stade Uniprix as sixth-seeded Leila Barros and Ana Paula Connelly upset top-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca to capture the women’s gold medal at the US$400,000 Montréal Open.

The 21-15 and 27-25 win in the one hour, 19 minute All-Brazilian gold medal match was Leila and Ana Paula’s first title in 19 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour starts as the pair of 34-year olds shared the $32,000 first-place prize while spoiling an early 23rd birthday present for Juliana with her 24-year old partner.

“I hate to say this, but I think we can get better,” said Ana Paula, who was winning her eighth SWATCH-FIVB World Tour title in 66 international starts while Leila was collecting her first gold medal in 37 starts on the foreign circuit.  “We have been playing a lot of Beach Volleyball lately since we have had to qualify for each of our last three events.”

After placing ninth as a “wild card” entry at last month’s SWATCH grand slam stop in the Swiss Alps, Leila and Ana Paula had to win country quota and qualifying matches to gain Main Draw berths in the next two events in Norway and France where they placed third each time.

With no country quota playoff this week, Leila and Ana Paula won a qualifying match Wednesday before capturing six-straight Main Draw wins.  In addition to her first Beach title, Leila was also named the SWATCH most outstanding player for the Montréal Open.

“Leila played great this week,” said Ana Paula, who placed fifth at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with Sandra Pires.  “To defeat a team like Juliana and Larissa, it takes a lot of energy.  Leila had it today and I am thrilled that she can enjoy the feeling of capturing a Beach Volleyball gold medal.  She was such a great indoor player, and now she has a Beach Volleyball title to her credit.”

Juliana and Larissa entered the title match with a five-match SWATCH winning streak over Leila and Ana Paula with a pair of semi-final wins over their “senior” Brazilians rivals the last two weekends in Stavanger and Marseille where the young South Americans captured the gold medals.

Despite the setback, Juliana and Larissa continue to pace the SWATCH point standings with seven-straight podium finishes this season and three gold medals.  The 2005 Montréal Open champions, Juliana and Larissa shared the $22,000 second-place prize to increase their season total to $188,600 with a 900-point lead over China’s Wang Jie and Tian Jia in the point’s race.

Third-seeded Wang Jie and Tian Jia captured the Montréal Open bronze medal with a 13-21, 21-19 and 15-12 in one hour, 12 minutes over 12th-seeded Stephanie Pohl and Okka Rau of Germany.  The Chinese, who trailed 5-1 and 6-2 in the deciding set, shared $16,000 for their fourth podium placement in seven SWATCH starts this season.  Both of Wang Jie and Tian Jia’s setbacks this week were to Leila and Ana Paula.

Pohl and Rau, who have now placed fourth in two of the last three SWATCH starts, split $12,000 for their Montréal Open performance.  The Germans are the second-ranked European team on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour behind Greece’s Vasso Karadassiou and Vassiliki Arvaniti.  Pohl and Rau have won two of the three European tour titles this year with the Greeks winning the season opener.

The fourth of seven-straight double gender events on the 2006 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, the Montréal Open also featured men’s play where Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes upset Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos 21-15 and 21-13 for the title.  The SWATCH-FIVB World Tour returns to Europe for a Russian visit to St. Petersburg for the second-straight year (July 18-23).

More news...
16.07.2006 With Ana Paula's Help, Leila Gains First SWATCH Gold Medal Match Berth  
15.07.2006 Leila & Ana Paula Upset Legendary Rivals for Montréal Open “Final Four” Spot  
14.07.2006 Brazil, China and Switzerland Top Montreal Open Men's & Women's Field  
14.07.2006 Germans Deny Brazilians Montréal Open Women’s Sweep Thursday  
12.07.2006 Aussies Net Three Women’s Montréal Open Main Draw Spots  
11.07.2006 Canadian Country Quota Playoffs Launch Montréal Open  
10.07.2006 Montréal Hosts North American SWATCH-FIVB World Tour Stop