|FORTALEZA, BRAZIL, March 12, 2004 - The upsets keep coming for 28th-seeded Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta Silva as the Brazilians scored their third-straight upset win in the Main Draw by notching a victory over fourth-seeded Jia Tian and Fei Wang of China here Friday morning in sticky weather conditions on the Praia de Iracema.
The US$180,000 Brazilian Open, the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season opener, continues with 10 more matches Friday that will determine the final four teams for Saturday's semi-finals with host Brazil guaranteed as least one berth in the "final four" teams.
Larissa and Felisberta Silva now challenge top-seeded Misty May and Kerri Walsh of the United States in the first of two matches in the fourth-round of the winner's bracket. It will be an All-Brazilian match in the other winner's bracket finale as third-seeded Ana Paula Connolly and Sandra Pires face second-seeded Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar. Ana Paula and Pires have won all three matches against their Brazilian rivals on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.
After defeating higher seeded teams from the United States and Canada Thursday, Larissa and Felisberta Silva rallied from a certain defeat in the second set of their match with Jia Tian and Fei Wang to win the deciding third-set 15-9. In the second-longest match of the Main Draw (62 minutes), the Brazilians dropped the first set 21-15 and took advantage of Jia Tian and Fei Wang's failure to capture the second set as Chinese served for match point three times. Larissa and Franca, who had to win four qualifying matches Tuesday and Wednesday, tied the match with a 24-22 second-set win.
"We had to play well to beat them," said Larissa after the match. "They are quick on their feet and, in the first set, we had to figure out the way they played. In the second set, we were able to tactically prevail. In the third set, it was pure energy and strength."
Felisberta Silva played one of her first ever SWATCH-FIVB World Tour matches against May and Walsh last September in Los Angeles with Jackie Silva. "It's as if you were playing against men," said the young Brazilian about her first match. "They are strong blockers and have a lot of power blocking."
May and Walsh, who have now won 31-straight matches on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, scored a 21-17 and 21-13 win over ninth-seeded Stephanie Pohl and Okka Rau, the European champions. Ana Paula and Pires scored a 16-21, 21-17 and 15-12 win over sixth-seeded Nicole Benoit and Simone Kuhn of Switzerland Friday morning while Bede and Behar edged seventh-seeded Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs of the United States 21-18 and 22-20.
Ana Paula and Pires, the top team on the 2003 women's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour points' standings and the last team to defeat May and Walsh, have now survived "scares" in the last two matches, including a 11-21, 21-19 and 16-14 win against 14th-seeded Vassiliki Arvaniti and Efthalia Koutroumanidou of Greece Thursday afternoon.
In Friday's first elimination matches, fifth-seeded Annett Davis/Jenny Johnson Jordan of the United States ousted Luciana Rosario/Jackie Silva of Brazil 21-15 and 21-18, 10th-seeded Summer Lochowicz/Kerri Pottharst of Australia defeated 18th-seeded Milagros Crespo/Imara Esteves Ribalta of Cuba 21-18, 18-21 and 17-15. 13th-seeded Lu Wang/Whenhui You of China downed 22nd-seeded Chiaki Kusuhara/Ryo Tokuno of Japan 21-17 and 21-14, and eighth-seeded Suzanne Lahme/Danja Musch of Germany beat 31st-seeded Laura Bruschini/Annamaria Solazzi of Italy 21-14 and 21-19.