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

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Early Alice Italian Open Qualifying Features Two Seed-Breakthroughs
Milan, Italy, September 2, 2004 - Two seed-breakthroughs highlighted the first session of play here Thursday as the second of two days of qualifying in the US$180,000 Alice Italian Open concludes with four evening matches on the centre court at the Arco della Pace (Arc of Peace) - Piazza Sempione.

The teams of top-seeded Marie-Andree Lessard/Sarah Maxwell of Canada and fourth-seeded Cecilie Josefsen/Kristine Wiig of Norway advanced as expected, but fifth-seeded Claire Jaouen/Deborah Giaoui of France and the eighth-seeded Schwaigers (Doris and Stefanie) of Austria were upset in matches that qualified teams for Friday's opening Main Draw rounds.

Lessard and Maxwell scored a 21-18 and 21-19 win over 17th-seeded Svitlana Barurina and Galyna Osheyko of the Ukraine while Josefsen and Wig eliminated 21st-seeded Magdalena Jirak and Kerstin Pichler of Austria 21-18, 20-22 and 15-11 to earn Main Draw berths.

Posting seed-breakthroughs were ninth-seeded Karin Trüssel and Nadia Erni of Switzerland and the 12th-seeded Tychnovas (Katerina and Marketa) of the Czech Republic. The Swiss scored a 21-17 and 21-16 win over the Schwaigers while the Tychnovas ousted Jaouen and Giaoui 21-19 and 21-19.

Second-seeded Sara Montagnolli and Sabine Swoboda of Austria will play Thursday evening's featured match on the Arco della Pace Centre Court at 9:30 p.m. against 15th-seeded Gaia Cicola and Diletta Lunardi of Italy.

Thursday's evening session begins at 6:30 p.m. when 15th-seeded Einav Muharer and Gisela Rodriquez challenge third-seeded Chrisi Gschweidl and Barbara Hansel of Austria. Muharer and Rodriquez will be seeking to become the first men's or women's team from Israel to qualify for a Main Draw berth in an "open" SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event.

Other matches Thursday have sixth-seeded Inguna Minusa and Inga Pulina of Latvia playing 11th-seeded Miwa Asao and Shinako Tanaka of Japan at 7:30 p.m. followed by seventh-seeded Isabelle Forrer and Lea Schwer of Switzerland against 10th-seeded Carole Cordinier and Mathilde Giordano of France.

The 32-team Main Draw will start Friday morning 10 a.m. with 40 matches in the double-elimination event. Sixteen (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.