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

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Italian Olympians Lead Women's Beach Volleyball Qualifiers
GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND, June 16, 2004 - Two teams from Italy eliminated tandems from Austria and Norway here Wednesday to lead six other countries into the Main Draw of this week's US$360,000 to advance to the Main Draw of the 1to1 Energy Open Qualification Tournament.

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 teams of Daniela Gattelli/Lucilla Perrotta and Laura Bruschini/Annamaria Solazzi, who competed for Italy in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, each posted 2-0 qualifying marks to join teams from Australia, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Norway and the United States as tandems earning Main Draw berths Tuesday.

Also advancing from the 48-team women's qualifier were the teams of Angela Clarke/Kylie Gerlic of Australia (second-seeded team), Mayra Garcia/Hilda Gaxiola of Mexico (3), Carrie Busch/Nancy Mason of the United States (5), Nila Ann Hakedal/Ingrid Torlen of Norway (6), Milagros Crespo/Imara Esteves Ribalta of Cuba (7) and Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa França of Brazil (9).

Bruschini and Solazzi were the lowest seeded team to earn a Main Draw berth from the qualifier as the 11th-seeded Italians upset eighth-seeded Susanne Glesnes and Kathrine Maaseide of Norway 21-23, 21-19 and 15-9 in the final round of qualifying. Bruschini and Solazzi placed fifth at the Sydney 2000 Olympics while Gattelli and Perrotta were ninth.

Gattelli and Perrotta, who were seeded fourth in the qualifier, also won in three sets in eliminating Barbara Hansel and Sara Montagnolli of Austria 21-12, 20-22 and 15-12 in the second-longest women's qualifying match Wednesday as Bruschini and Solazzi played the Norwegians for 63 minutes.

"You can see how tough these qualifiers are," said American Mason, who placed 17th with Busch in the season opener in Brazil after surviving both country matches and elimination matches in Fortaleza. "When you have former Olympians attempting to qualify for the Main Draw, you know that competition is fierce."

Busch and Mason advanced to the Main Draw with a 21-16 and 21-13 win over the 23rd-seeded Nystroms twins (Emilie and Erika). The Americans also advanced from the Brazilian qualifier by defeating the Nystroms in the March event