Women's competition, Milan
From 1 September To 5 September 2004

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Brazil & Czech Republic Teams Net First Alice Italian Open "Final Four" Spots
Milan, Italy, September 4, 2004 - Seventh-seeded Eva Celbova and Sona Novakova of the Czech Republic joined top-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede of Brazil in gaining the first two "final four" spots in the US$180,000 Alice Italian Open here Saturday afternoon.

Playing in their last event this season on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, Celbova and Novakova posted a 21-10 and 21-17 win over third-seeded Nicole Schnyder and Simone Kuhn of Switzerland in 33 minutes. The Swiss are the reigning women's European Beach Volleyball champions after claiming the title at Timmendorfer Strand, Germany in June where the Czechs placed fourth.

After clinching their sixth SWATCH-FIVB World Tour point's title Friday, Adriana and Shelda scored a 21-17 and 21-16 win in 39 minutes over fifth-seeded Renata Ribeiro and Shaylyn Bede, Shelda's younger sister. It was the first-ever international match between the two teams.

"I know my parents for rooting for Shaylyn," Shelda joked after the match. "Since she is my baby sister, she is the spoiled one in the family and usually gets her way. However, we made sure she didn't get her way today as family loyality stopped once we entered the court."

Adriana and Shelda, who finished second in the inaugural Alice Italian Open last September when they dropped the final to Jia Tian and Fei Wang of China, will be seeking their 32nd SWATCH-FIVB World Tour title as they have now advanced to their 81st SWATCH-FIVB World Tour "final four" in 88 international events together.

As for point titles, Adriana and Shelda won five-straight SWATCH season crowns from 1997 through 2001. The two-time Olympic silver medallists and two-time FIVB World Champions in 1999 and 2001, Adriana and Shelda have won two events this season with a 48-8 match mark.

"This is great," said Celbova after defeating Schnyder and Kuhn for the first-time this season in four meetings. "This is our final event this season, and it could be our final event together until 2006. Right now, we are both thinking about starting a family. We have played very well this week and are looking to advance to the finals."

Celbova and Novakova, who placed ninth at both the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympic Games, have now advanced to their seventh SWATCH "final four" with their highest finishes being thirds, including a bronze medal finish at the 2001 FIVB World Championships, and two "open" events in Bali last season and twice in Mallorca (1999 and 2004). The Czechs have a 27-19 match mark this season.

Four more contender's bracket matches remain Saturday under the lights at the The Arco della Pace (Arc of Peace) - Parco Sempione Centre Court to determine the last two teams for the semi-finals. Sunday's action begins at 11:30 a.m. with the gold medal match to be played at 4 p.m. where the winning team will share the $27,000 first-place prize.

Season Women's Points Champions
1992-93 Karolyn Kirby/Nancy Reno, United States
1993-94 Kirby/Liz Masakayan, United States
1994-95 Monica Rodrigues/Adriana Samuel, Brazil
1995-96 Sandra Pires/Jackie Silva, Brazil
1996 Pires/Silva, Brazil
1997 Shelda Bede/Adriana Behar, Brazil
1998 Bede/Behar, Brazil
Season Women's Points Champions
1999 Bede/Behar, Brazil
2000 Bede/Behar, Brazil
2001 Bede/Behar, Brazil
2002 Misty May/Kerri Walsh, United States
2003 Ana Paula Connelly/Pires, Brazil
2004 Bede/Behar, Brazil