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

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GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND, June 17, 2004 - It's "interesting" how the brackets for this week's US$360,000 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour stop worked out as the top three women's teams from the Brazil ended up in one side while the best three American tandems are working the other side.

Brazil and the United States each had three teams posting 2-0 marks in the winner's bracket here Thursday. Friday's opening matches pit the second- and third-ranked Americans in the upper bracket with the No. 2 and No. 3 Brazilians facing each other in the lower part of the Main Draw.

In addition to the top five-seeded teams advancing as expected, 1th-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca of Brazil upset sixth-seeded Nicole Schnyder-Benoit and Simone Kuhn of Switzerland 21-14, 16-21 and 17-15 Thursday afternoon to advance unbeaten to Friday's play.

With the upset, Felisberta Silva and Larissa will challenge second-seeded Brazilian rivals Ana Paula Connelly and Sandra Pires in the third of four winner's bracket matches Friday morning. Also competing in the lower bracket is second-seeded Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar of Brazil, who play 23rd-seeded Milagros Crespo and Imara Esteves Ribalta of Cuba.

The upper bracket has top-seeded Misty May and Kerri Walsh of the United States facing 24th-seeded Ethel-Julie Arjona/Virginie Kadjo of France. The other match has the United States tandems of fourth-seeded Holly McPeak/Elaine Youngs playing fifth-seeded Annett Davis/Jenny Johnson Jordan.

"You don't see this very often with the top teams from our country on one side of the bracket and the Brazilians are all on the other side," said McPeak, who is seeking her second-straight SWATCH-FIVB World Tour title after winning last month in China where they defeated Davis and Johnson Jordan in the finals.

"We are playing well," said Youngs. "We struggled a lot earlier in the season on both the international and domestic tours. We potentially will be playing all our matches tomorrow against our American rivals. We are finishing each set and match strong. We have been very consistent."

Advancements in the winner's bracket by teams from France and Cuba also highlighted play Thursday. Arjona and Kadjo scored wins over teams from Switzerland and Greece to earn a match with May and Walsh, who won the first two women's events this season in Brazil and Greece.

After defeating a team from China, Crespo and Esteves Ribalta scored a 21-18, 24-26 and 15-11 upset win over Australians Natalie Cook and Nicole Sanderson, who placed second in the last women's FIVB event in Japan after losing to Shelda and Adriana in the finals.

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.