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

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Mexican Pair Score Three-Set Win Against Swedes
GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND, June 15, 2004 - You could see the "relief" in the faces of Mayra Garcia and Hilda Gaxiola after the Mexicans' comeback win over 37th-seeded Karin Lundquist and Sara Uddstahl of Sweden here Tuesday during the opening rounds of the 1to1 Energy Open Qualification Tournament.

"This was a big win for us as you just can not lose on the opening day of qualifying," said Gaxiola after she and Garcia scored a 19-21, 21-18 and 15-12 win over the Swedish pair in one of Tuesday's final qualifying matches. "Look at the Germans, they lost this morning in their country quota and now they don't have a chance to advance to the Main Draw if one of the top-ranked teams withdraw."

That will be the case this week at the fifth annual 1to1 Energy Open for women where US$360,000 will be awarded this weekend to the Main Draw teams for both genders. Event organizers had two women's teams withdraw Tuesday due to injuries. In the case of withdrawals, the highest two-seeded teams losing Wednesday will fill the vacated Main Draw spots as "lucky losers."

Withdrawing from this week's event were the teams of Suzanne Lahme/Danja Musch of Germany and Vasso Karadassiou/Efi Sfyri of Greece. Both team appeared headed for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and decided to take a rest before next week's "grand slam" event in Germany.

Losing unexpectedly Tuesday morning in the German country quota matches was top-seeded Andrea Ahmann and Jana Vollmer, who were upset 21-12 and 22-20 by 32nd-seeded Rieke Brink-Abeler and Hella Jurich. The upset left the third-seeded Mexicans and second-seeded Angela Clark and Kylie Gerlic of Australia as the top remaining seeds advancing to Wednesday's final elimination round.

"The Swedish women are really improving," Gaxiola added. "We also had a three-setter with them in Greece last month in the same qualifying round as today's situation. The win today will also help us as we continue to play each tournament to strengthen our Olympic qualifying standings."

Gaxiola and Galindo are currently ranked 18th on the Olympic qualifying list. With 1,116 points for their best eight finishes on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour since January 2003, the Mexicans are competing for one of the final eight spots in the 24-team with teams from Italy, Japan, Canada, Norway, Bulgaria, Cuba and France.

"A defeat today would have really hurt us. Some people think the qualifying rounds lack the excitement as a Main Draw. The average fan out here does not realize that every match played has a special meaning," noted Gaxiola, who competed in the Sydney 2000 Games with Teresa Galindo. Garcia and Galindo are competing in their 39th SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event this week.

The women's Main Draw starts Thursday and concludes Saturday 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. The Olympic qualifying process ends with events in Germany, Norway and Mallorca before the July 11 deadline.