Women's competition, Marseille
From 13 July To 18 July 2004

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Brazilians Face American Trio in World Series 13 Women's "Final Four"
MARSEILLE, FRANCE, July 16, 2004 - They took different routes, but three teams from the United States earned "final four" berths here Friday where they will compete against a young Brazilian tandem for the medals in the eighth annual women's World Series 13 Beach Volleyball event.

Top-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca of Brazil are set for Saturday's first semi-final against Annett Davis and Jenny Johnson Jordan while 17th-seeded Carrie Busch and Nancy Mason challenge second-seeded Kerri Walsh and Rachel Withholder in the other semi-final.

Davis and Johnson had a longer road to the semi-finals than the other two American tandems. Seeded fourth in the 32-team Main Draw, Davis and Johnson Jordan had to win six-straight elimination matches to advance to the "final four" for the fourth-time this season.

After scoring an 18-21, 22-20 and 15-6 win over 17th-seeded Kathrine Maaseide and Susanne Glesnes of Norway, Davis and Johnson advanced to Saturday's play with a 21-12 and 23-21 win over sixth-seeded Eva Celbova and Sona Novakova of the Czech Republic.

Busch and Mason had to win "only" five-straight contender's bracket matches to gain their first-ever "final four" appearance together. The 17th-seeded pair scored a 24-22 and 21-16 win over fifth-seeded and 2004 European Champions Nicole Schnyder-Benoit and Simone Kuhn.

Prior to eliminating the Swiss pair, Busch and Mason had to defeat 12th-seeded Lucilla Perrotta and Daniela Gattelli of Italy 16-21, 21-17 and 15-13. The semi-final appearance by Busch is her first internationally in 25 career starts on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.

Walsh and Wacholder rallied from a first set setback and a four-point deficit in the deciding set to score a 15-21, 21-17 and 18-16 win over Celbova and Novak ova. Walsh and Withholder placed third two weeks ago in Norway in their first-ever event together.

Felisberta Silva and Larissa were the first to advance to Saturday's semi-finals with a 25-23 and 24-22 victory in 59 minutes over Schnyder-Benoit and Kuhn. The Brazilians will be playing for their second-straight SWATCH-FIVB World Tour gold medal as they won last weekend in Mallorca.

Friday's 5-0 match mark for the United States also earned the American women three spots in a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour semi-final for the third-time this season. After finishing 1, 2 and 4 in May's Greece stop in Rhodes where Walsh and Misty May captured the gold medal, the United States posted a 1, 2 and 3 placement in Norway two weeks ago where Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs captured the title.

Davis and Johnson Jordan have played in all three of those "final fours" by placing fourth in Greece before losing the gold medal match to McPeak and Youngs on the pier in Stavanger. May, Walsh's Olympic-qualifying partner, has missed the last two SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events due to an abdominal strain.

The fifth of five-straight mixed gender events on the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, the World Series 13 continues Saturday with the women's semi-finals and eight more men's matches, including the semi-finals. The SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event ends Sunday where the winning women's and men's teams each split the $41,500 first-place prizes.