Women's competition, Rio de Janeiro
From 20 September To 25 September 2004

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Brazilians Display SWATCH-FIVB World Tour Power
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 22, 2004 - For only the second-time in SWATCH-FIVB World Tour history, one country has the top four seeds in the tournament, and host Brazil proved those seedings correct as each tandem posted first-round wins here Wednesday morning in the US$360,000 Banco do Brasil Women's Beach Volleyball Open.

The last time a country had the top four seeds in a FIVB-sanctioned event was also here in February 1997 when four Brazilian men's teams secured the first four spots in an international tournament won by Emanuel Rego and Ze Marco de Melo.

Led by top-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede, seven Brazilian teams posted a 5-2 mark during the opening rounds in the winner's bracket with both losses occurring when the host country had two tandems playing each other in the double-elimination 32-team Main Draw.

The two-team Olympic silver medallists, Adriana and Shelda posted one of those All-Brazilian match wins as the two-time FIVB World Champions scored a 21-13, 18-21 and 15-7 win in 47 minutes over 32nd-seeded Maria Rufino Salgado and Carolina Solberg Salgado.

The Salgado sisters qualified Monday for the Main Draw as 17-year old Carolina entered the Banco do Brasil Open after winning the FIVB U-21 World Championship last Saturday with Taiana Lima in Porto Santo, Madeira (Portugal). The Salgado's mother (Isabel) was one of the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour's top players during the first three seasons of the international women's circuit.

Also posting first-round wins for Brazil were second-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca, third-seeded Ana Paula Connelly/Sandra Pires and fourth-seeded Shaylyn Bede/Renata Ribeiro, who scored an 18-21, 21-15 and 15-10 win over 29th-seeded Mônica Paludo and Angela Vieira. Tenth-seeded Alexandra Fonseca and Mônica Rodrigues also won a first-round match for Brazil.

Also competing in Wednesday's competition is 31st-seeded Einav Muharer and Gisela Rodriquez, who became Israel's first-ever team to compete in a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour "open" Main Draw. The Israelis, who lost 21-14 and 21-16 Monday to the Salgados, gained a berth in the "money" rounds when a team from Canada was a late withdrawal from the event.

Muharer and Rodriquez, who just missed qualifying for a Main Draw earlier this month in Milan, Italy, dropped a 21-14 and 21-11 decision to Felisberta Silva and Larissa. The Israelis play Japan's Chiaki Kusuhara and Satoko Urata in their next match Wednesday with the loser being eliminated.

Nine teams and two players from the Athens 2004 Olympic Games are competing in the final SWATCH-FIVB World Tour "open" event of the 2004 season. Missing the event due to their participation in a domestic event in Hawaii are the American teams of Misty May/Kerri Walsh (gold) and Holly McPeak/Elaine Youngs (bronze).

The Women's Main Draw continues through Saturday in the mixed gender event. The men's Main Draw begin Thursday. The women's medal matches will be played Saturday with the men's bronze and gold medal matches set for Sunday.

TOP FOUR SEEDS - With Brazil having the top four seeds in the women's Banco do Brasil Open, in marks the second time in the history of the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event that a country had the top four spots in an event. The other was February 20-23, 1997 in a men's event in Rio de Janeiro when Brazil also had the top four seeds.

1. Emanuel Redo/Ze Marco de Melo, placed first
2. Guilherme Marques/Para Ferreira, placed 17th
3. Franco Neto/Roberto Lopes, placed ninth
4. Paulao Moreira/Paulo Emilio Silva, placed ninth