Women's competition, Gstaad
From 15 June To 19 June 2004

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Olympic Preview at 1to1 Energy Open
GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND, June 18, 2004 - In what could be called "a preview of the women's Beach Volleyball semi-finals at the Athens Olympic Games," the top four-seeded teams from Brazil and the United States won a pair of matches each to earn "final four" berths here Friday in the US$360,000 1to1 Energy Open

While the teams of Misty May/Kerri Walsh of the United States and Adriana Behar/Shelda Bede of Brazil each won four-straight Main Draw matches this week to secure the first two "final four" spots, the tandems of Ana Paula Connelly/Sandra Pires of Brazil and Holly McPeak/Elaine Youngs of the United States had to win one elimination match each to advance to the semi-finals.

The top-seeded May and Walsh will play Ana Paula and Pires in the first semi-final Saturday. May and Walsh advanced to the semi-finals with a 21-18 and 216 win over the fourth-seeded McPeak and Youngs. The top-ranked team on the Olympic qualifying list for the 2004 Athens Games, May and Walsh won four of their previous seven matches against the Brazilians.

Winners of their last six international starts, including the FIVB World Championships last October in Rio de Janeiro, May and Walsh have now won 44-straight matches on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour. Ana Paula and Pires were the last team to defeat the Americans in the finals of the Norwegian Open in Stavanger.

After losing 21-18, 19-21 and 18-16 to the second-seeded Adriana and Shelda earlier Friday, Ana Paula and Sandra advanced with a 21-16 and 21-18 over eighth-seeded Summer Lochowicz and Kerri Pottharst of Australia. The third-seeded Brazilians are playing in their first SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event since finishing fifth in the season opener in March at Fortaleza, Brazil.

McPeak and Youngs, who won the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour stop in China last month, recovered from their setback to May and Walsh by defeating Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca of Brazil 21-11 and 21-17. The American will be playing in their 11th international "final four" with five gold medal finishes together.

"We are playing well right now," said McPeak after the match. "We had two tough matches earlier in the day against our American rivals. We started fast against the young Brazilians and kept the pressure on them. Our match with Adriana and Shelda will be very tough. They have been so good for so long. When you play any Brazilian team, you have to play mistake-free volleyball."

For Adriana and Shelda, the "final four" berth is their 77th in 84 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events together. The Brazilians captured their 30th international crown two weeks ago in Japan after May/Walsh partnership won the first two events in Brazil and Greece, and McPeak and Youngs won the gold medal in China.

The women's Main Draw concludes Saturday afternoon when the final two teams compete for the $27,000 first-place prize. The 1to1 Energy Open is the fifth women's event on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour after opening stops in Brazil, Greece, China and Japan.