|BERLIN, GERMANY, June 23, 2004 - It's usually the women's teams from Brazil and the United States that pace the advancers after two Main Draw rounds of winner's bracket competition, but it was the host Germans who captured six victories here Wednesday in the US$600,000 Smart Grand Slam.
With five teams in the 32-team Main Draw, Germany played eight matches Wednesday with the tandems of Suzanne Lahme/Danja Müsch and Andrea Ahmann/Jana Vollmer advancing to the third-round of the winner's bracket. The winner of that match is guaranteed a fifth-place finish and a share of $14,000 in prize money.
Of the two German unbeatens Wednesday, Ahmann and Vollmer had the easier time advancing to Thursday's play. Seeded 17th, Ahmann and Vollmer scored a two-set win over team from China followed by a forfeit win over top-seeded Misty May and Kerri Walsh from the United States.
After defeating 32nd-seeded Ulrike Schmidt and Antje Rode of Germany 21-15 and 21-19 in her first match Wednesday with Walsh, May was forced to the sidelines due to an abdominal strain injury that has plagued her since early June. May and Walsh have teamed to win the last seven SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events while winning 47-straight matches before Wednesday's forfeit.
Müsch, a 2000 Beach Volleyball Olympian, and Lahme won both of their matches in three-sets. After defeating 25th-seeded Renata Ribeiro and Shaylyn Bede of Brazil 16-21, 21-15 and 15-13, the eighth-seeded Lahme and Müsch downed country rivals Okka Rau and Stephanie Pohl 19-21, 23-21 and 15-7.
All five German teams will be playing Thursday, including 22nd-seeded Helke Claasen and Martina Stoof, who split a pair of matches Wednesday by upsetting 11th-seeded Sona Navokova and Eva Celbova of the Czech Republic before having their match with Italian Beach Volleyball Olympians Lucilla Perrotta and Daniela Gattelli called due to darkness. The match will be replayed at 8 a.m. Thursday morning as Italy had won the first set 21-19 and was trailing in the second set 16-14.
In addition to May and Walsh's forfeiture Wednesday, the fourth-seeded Brazilian team of Ana Paula Connelly and Sandra Pires passed on their two Smart Grand Slam matches. After reaching last week's semi-finals in Switzerland, Pires could not play in the bronze medal game due to a calf injury.
For the record, Brazil was 2-3 Wednesday with second-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede leading the way for the South American country with wins over teams from Italy and the United States. Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs paced the United States with wins over team from Bulgaria and Canada as the Americans won five of eight matches.