Women's competition, Mallorca
From 6 July To 10 July 2004

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Safely Through Qualification Round
SANTA PONSA, MALLORCA, July 7, 2004 - For the first-time in eight SWATCH-FIVB World Tour women's events this season, all eight of the top-seeded teams in the Mallorca Open Qualification Tournament advanced as expected to the Main Draw after winning matches here Wednesday.

And for four of the teams, the advancement was "a good thing" as the tandems from Bulgaria, Italy, Mexico and Norway are still competing for one of the final six spots for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games against teams from Australia, France and Japan.

Top-seeded Daniela Gattelli and Lucilla Perrotta of Italy, who are Olympic qualified with 1,428 points for their best eight finishes on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour since January 2003, led Wednesday's qualifiers that also included a pair of "lucky" losers due to only one "wild card" being awarded for the US$360,000 event along with the withdrawal of Guylaine Dumont and Annie Martin from Canada.

Other teams with "provisional" Olympic berths earning Main Draw berths with wins Wednesday were second-seeded Nila Ann Hakedal/Ingrid Torlen (1,130 points) of Norway, fourth-seeded of Susanne Glesnes/Katherine Maaseide (1,196 points) of Norway, fifth-seeded Mayra Garcia/Hilda Gaxiola (1,152) and the Bulgarian Yanchulova sisters (Lina and Petia, 1,064).

Other teams winning qualifying matches to advance to Thursday's opening "money" rounds were third-seeded Renata Ribeiro/Shaylyn Bede of Brazil, seventh-seeded Laura Bruschini/Annamaria Solazzi of Italy and eighth-seeded Helke Claasen/Martina Stoof of Germany. Bruschini and Solazzi, Sydney 2000 Olympians, still have a chance to qualify for Athens, but would have to finish fourth or better and hope for no improvement from the Bulgarians.

Wednesday "lucky" losers advancing to the Main Draw were ninth-seeded Gabriele Jobst/Patricia Stragliotto of Canada and 10th-seeded Claire Jaouen/Tatiana Riera of France. The Canadians dropped a three-setter to Claasen and Stoof 25-23, 17-21 and 15-13 in 74 minutes (the longest match of the qualifier. Bruschini and Solazzi scored a 21-10 and 21-14 win over Jaouen and Riera in one of Wednesday's final match.

The women's Main Draw starts Thursday with the women's "final four" matches being played Saturday. The winning team shares the $27,000 first-place prize. The fourth of five-straight mixed gender events, the Mallorca Open started men's qualifying Wednesday with the Main Draw beginning Friday and the finals Sunday.

Host Spain will have three teams in the women's Main Draw, including Ester Alcon/Catalina Pol, Nadia Campisi/Clara Lozano and Ester Ribera/Julia Mandana. Alcon and Pol were Spain's top women's team on the Olympic qualifying list with 512 points from their best eight finishes.