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

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Advantage Lochowicz & Pottharst
SANTA PONSA, MALLORCA, July 9, 2004 - With a 21-18, 20-22 and 15-10 win over fifth-seeded Andrea Ahmann and Jana Vollmer of Germany here Friday morning, Summer Lochowicz and Kerri Pottharst have gained the advantage in the race for the second Australian women's berth in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

While the fourth-seeded Lochowicz and Pottharst were posting their 55-minute win to guarantee a fifth-place finish this week in the US$360,000 Mallorca Open, top-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca of Brazil were scoring a 21-18 and 21-16 victory over eighth-seeded Angela Clark and Kylie Gerlic of Australia.

With the win, Lochowicz and Pottharst increased their Olympic qualifying point total to 1,248 to move ahead of Clarke and Gerlic's 1,192-point total for their best eight finishes on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour since the start of the qualification process in January 2003.

For Clarke and Gerlic, the challenge is to catch their Aussie rivals by winning at least two-straight elimination matches Friday afternoon to tie Lochowicz and Pottharst's guaranteed fifth. If Lochowicz and Pottharst defeat Felisberta and Larissa, Clarke and Gerlic will have to win three-straight elimination matches starting with a meeting with 19th-seeded Ethel-Julie Arjona and Virginie Kadjo of France, who defeated the 27th-seeded Yanchulova sisters (Lina and Petia) of Bulgaria to open their schedule Friday.

Arjona and Kadjo need to win the match with the Aussies to keep Olympic hopes "alive." The Yanchulovas are currently ranked 23rd on the Athens list with 1,100 points while Arjona and Kadjo are 12 points behind at 1,088 points. Also in the chase for an Olympic berth are Milagros Crespo and Imara Esteves Ribalta (1,044 points). The 21st-seeded Cubans play 14th-seeded Vasso Karadassiou/Efi Sfyri of Greece in their first match Friday.

The women's Mallorca Open ends with Saturday's morning semi-finals followed by the afternoon medal matches were the championship team shares the $27,000 first-place prize. The fourth of five-straight mixed gender events, the men's Mallorca Open Draw began Friday and the finals Sunday. After the Mallorca stop, the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour concludes the string of mixed gender events with the annual stop in Marseille, France (July 13-18).