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

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Brazil's Adriana & Shelda Return to Alice Italian Open Gold Medal Match
Milan, Italy, September 5, 2004 - For the 56th-time in their SWATCH-FIVB World Tour career together, Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede will play for a gold medal as the top-seeded Brazilians won their semi-final match here Sunday in the US$180,000 Alice Italian Open on the Arco della Pace (Arc of Peace) - Parco Sempione Centre Court.

With their 21-19 and 21-15 win in 39 minutes over third-seeded Nicole Schnyder and Simone Kuhn of Switzerland, Adriana and Shelda will attempt to capture the Alice Italian Open title after losing the 2003 gold medal match to Jia Tian and Fei Wang of China. Overall, Adriana and Shelda will be seeking their 32nd SWATCH-FIVB World Tour title.

It also marked the sixth-straight SWATCH-FIVB World Tour final for Adriana and Shelda, who won two of the gold medal matches in Japan and Germany. Adriana and Shelda will play the winner of the match between seventh-seeded Eva Celbova and Sona Novakova of the Czech Republic and fifth-seeded Renta Ribeiro and Shaylyn Bede of Brazil in the 4 p.m. gold medal contest where the winning team splits the $27,000 first-place prize.

"You know who we are pulling for," said Adriana when asked about what team she wanted to play in the finals. "With Shaylyn being Shelda's younger sister, it would give the Bede sisters a chance to share the podium. What a special day this would be for their family."

Adriana and Shelda scored a 21-17 and 21-16 win in 39 minutes over fifth-seeded Ribeiro and Shaylyn Saturday afternoon in the first-ever international match between the two teams. Ribeiro and Shaylyn have a 1-0 mark against the Czech team.

The other three title matches losses this season for Adriana and Shelda were to the United States' Kerri Walsh, who defeated the Brazilians with Misty May at last month's Athens 2004 Olympic Games and June's Switzerland stop. Walsh also defeated Adriana and Shelda in the finals of the Austrian event with Rachel Wacholder.

The semi-final win was also the eighth-straight win by Adriana and Shelda over the Swiss since the start of the 2002 season. The two teams have played three times this season with the Brazilians defeating Schnyder and Kuhn in the June's Japan semi-finals.

"I think the Swiss have not figured out a way to defeat us yet," said Adriana after the match. "They are a good team with solid techniques. Right now, we know how to play them as we continue to force the action. Also, Shelda's defense stymies their attack."

As for the SWATCH season point's title, Adriana said that is why they are "playing in Milan. We are tired after a long season that included a lot of concentration on our Olympic effort. We were disappointed with our finish in Athens, but are happy that the season has produced nine-straight podium finishes. We did not play well in 2003, so our performance this season is very satisfying."

The Alice Italy Open also secured Adriana and Shelda's sixth SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season point's title as the pair won five-straight times from 1997 through 2001 before May and Walsh captured the 2002 point's crown. Brazil's Ana Paula Connelly and Sandra Pires won the 2003 season point's title.