Women's competition, Osaka
From 2 June To 6 June 2004

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Brazil's Shelda & Adriana Earn 8th-Straight Osaka "Final Four" Berth
OSAKA, JAPAN, June 5, 2004 - Nothing ever changes for Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar as the top-seeded team in this weekend's US$180,000 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event won two matches here Saturday to advance to the "final four" on Tannowa Beach for the eighth-straight year.

In rallying to a 17-21, 21-15 and 15-11 win over 21st-seeded Vasso Karadassiou and Efi Sfyri of Greece in the finals of the winner's bracket Saturday, Shelda and Adriana will have a chance to win their sixth Osaka gold medal Sunday as they have played in every international event on Tannowa Beach since 1997.

"I don't know if this beach is any more special than any other site," said Adriana after the 54-minute match with the Greeks. "I think the key to our successes is that we play in all the events each year and enjoying performing in front of all the fans at each site."

Winners of more SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event titles (29) than any other men's or women's team in the history of the international circuit, Shelda and Adriana will spend the rest of Saturday watching potential opponents for their semi-final match Sunday morning.

"I think the reason for winning so much has been the length of our partnership," Adriana added. "This is our ninth-season of competition together. We still have a lot of enthusiasm for the game and use every match to improve our play. We have had a great run and we look forward to the Athens Olympic Games and future seasons."

The silver medallists at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games where they were upset by Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst of Australia, Shelda and Adriana will be looking Sunday to win their first FIVB title since 2002 when they won the next-to-last event of the season in Mallorca.

During the 14- event drought, Shelda and Adriana .have posted five seconds, seven thirds, one fourth and one ninth. One of the seconds was at the 2003 FIVB World Championships in Rio de Janeiro.

"Yes, I am disappointed by not winning a title since 2002, but I am not feeling pressured," Adriana noted. "We just try to play our best at each tournament and hope that we'll be on the podium at the end. Our goal is to be atop the victory stand, but we must advance to the semi-finals in each event to have a chance for a gold medal."

After placing third in their Osaka debut in 1997, Shelda and Adriana started their title string in 1998 before having their gold medal streak snapped last August when Brazilian rivals Ana Paula Connelly and Sandra Pires defeated them in the finals. With eight-straight "final four" appearances in Osaka, Shelda and Adriana have won more than $170,000 on Tannowa Beach.