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

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Two Host Country Teams Advance Unbeaten in Alice Italian Open
Milan, Italy, September 3, 2004 - Host country teams of Daniela Gattelli/Lucilla Perrotta and Laura Bruschini/Annamarie Solazzi each posted 2-0 marks here Friday to lead eight tandems into Saturday's play with unbeaten records in the US$180,000 Alice Italian Open.

The fourth-seeded Gattelli and Perrotta ended a four-match losing streak to 13th-seeded Vasso Karadassiou and Efi Sfyri by defeating the Greeks 21-14 and 21-14 while the ninth-seeded Bruschini and Solazzi posted a 21-19 and 21-15 win over 25th-seeded Marie-Andree Lessard and Sarah Maxwell of Canada.

With the Beach Volleyball wins, the two Italian teams will play teams from Brazil in Saturday's opening matches in the third-round of the winner's bracket. Bruschini and Solazzi will face the biggest challenge as they face two-time Olympic silver medallists Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede of Brazil, who defeated teams from the Czech Republic and Greece Friday.

Gattelli and Perrotta, who placed fifth last month in the Athens Olympics where they lost a quarter-final match to Natalie Cook and Nicole Sanderson of Australia, will play fifth-seeded Renata Ribeiro and Shaylyn Bede of Brazil, who have defeated teams from Norway and Finland Friday.

"It is very important for us to finish well this weekend," said Perrotta, who started the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season slowly as she recovered from December surgery on her right knee. "It is always important for Italian players to play well before their home fans. I think our Olympic finish has really helped our sport in this country. Playing well this weekend is a top priority for us."

The season for Gattelli and Perrotta started with three 17ths and a 25th. "It was a struggle for me early since I did not have any power in my right leg," said Perrotta, who also played with Gattelli in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games where they placed ninth. "After placing 25th in Switzerland, I started to feel better and our results showed it."

In their next six events before the Olympics, Gattelli and Perrotta posted a fifth, 17th, fifth, seventh, third and 13th. "We knew we were a better team," said Perrotta. "Once I regained my strength in my right knee, we started to play better. We must not get over-confident since we'll have some tough matches Saturday starting with the young Brazilians."

Other opening matches Saturday in the third-round of the winner's bracket has third-seeded Nicole Schnyder and Simone Kuhn of Switzerland playing sixth-seeded Ethel-Julie Arjona and Virginie Kadjo of France and seventh-seeded Sona Navokova and Eva Celbova of the Czech Republic challenging second-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca of Brazil.

Sixteen (16) matches remain Friday at three sites around Milan, including the Arco della Pace (Arc of Peace) - Piazza Sempione Centre Court. 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.