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

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Six Countries Earn Alice Italian Open Qualifying Wins
Milan, Italy, September 1, 2004 - Teams from Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Japan, Switzerland and the Ukraine won elimination matches here Wednesday during the opening round of the Qualification Tournament for the US$180,000 Alice Italian Open.

Played on newly-constructed sand courts in front of both the Arco della Pace (Arc of Peace) - Piazza Sempione and the world famous Piazza del Duomo, the classical Gothic cathedral, Wednesday's action also saw host Italy advance a team to Thursday's final qualifying round to determine the last eight entries into the 32-team Main Draw.

Magdalena Jirak and Kerstin Pichler were Wednesday's top winners as the Austrians posted a pair of match victories. Jirak and Pichler opened play Wednesday by defeating 14th-seeded Jill Jasbar and Jasmin Moser (21-16 and 21-19) in an Austrian country quota match.

Seeded 21st in the 26-team Qualification Tournament, Jirak and Pitchler advanced to a Thursday afternoon match against fourth-seeded Cecilie Josefsen and Kristine Wiig of Norway by eliminating 13th-seeded Margherita Chiavaro and Manuela Malerba of Italy (21-19, 13-21 and 15-9).

Omella Fumagalli and Roberta Marini, the 22nd-seeded team, ousted 20th-seeded Marika Menin and Margherita Reniero (21-11 and 21-17) in the Italian country quota match before playing Einav Muharer and Gizela Rodriguez of Israel in a Wednesday evening match under the lights.

Thursday's first Qualification Tournament match features top-seeded Marie-Andree Lessard and Sarah Maxwell of Canada playing 17th-seeded Svitlana Barurina and Galyna Osheyko of the Ukraine at 12:30 p.m. on the Arco della Pace - Piazza Sempione Centre Court.

Second-seeded Sara Montagnolli and Sabine Swoboda of Austria will play Thursday's final match on the Arco della Pace Centre Court at 9:30 p.m. against 15th-seeded Gaia Cicola/Diletta Lunardi or 18th-seeded Cristiana Parenzan/Cristina Prosperi. The two Italy teams face each other in Wednesday's final match at 10 p.m.

The 32-team Main Draw will start Friday morning with 40 matches in the double-elimination event where 16 teams will advance to Saturday's play to determine the "final four" pairings. Sunday's schedule includes both the semi-final and medal matches as the winning team will share the $27,000 first-place prize.