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

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Three European Teams Challenge Brazilians in SWATCH-FIVB World Tour
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 22, 2004 - Teams from Bulgaria, Italy and Switzerland will try to "crash" the Brazilian Beach Volleyball party here Thursday after winning their opening matches Wednesday in the US$360,000 Banco do Brasil Women's Open.

With at least one spot guaranteed in the winner's bracket quarter-finals, Brazil will have a team playing in each match of the third-round of the winner's bracket Thursday morning against the European challengers in the last event on the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.

The All-Brazilian match in Thursday's opening winner's bracket play will have 10th-seeded Alexandra Fonseca and Mônica Rodrigues challenging second-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca. The Brazilian victors play the winner of the match between third-seeded Ana Paula Connelly and Sandra Pires of Brazil and sixth-seeded Daniela Gattelli and Lucilla Perrotta of Italy.

Top-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede of Brazil open Saturday's play against the ninth-seeded Yanchulova sisters (Lina and Petia) of Bulgaria with the winner playing either fifth-seeded Nicole Schnyder and Simone Kuhn of Switzerland or fourth-seeded Shaylyn Bede and Renata Ribeiro of Brazil.

If the Bede sisters (Shelda and Shaylyn) post opening victories with their partners Saturday morning, the two siblings will square off for the third-time in the last two SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events. Older sister Shelda gained the edge over her younger sister in the last FIVB event in Milan, Italy, earlier this month with a pair of wins, including a victory in the gold medal match.

"We are excited to finally be playing on our home sand," said Adriana after she and Shelda posted wins over teams from Brazil and Austria Wednesday. "I recovered quickly from my right ankle sprain in Milan as Shelda and I have been able to win a domestic stop in Brasilia since then."

In addition to capturing 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour stops in Japan, Germany and Italy to increase their career international total to 32 gold medals, Adriana and Shelda have won five of the six domestic events (Circuito Banco do Brasil) this season to lead the Brazilian tour with 2,000 points.

Like their Brazilian male counterparts Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos, Adriana and Shelda have also clinched the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season points title for the sixth-time in the last eight years after unseating Ana Paula and Pires from the top spot on the season-ending list.

"It has been a long season and it is not over yet for us," Adriana added. "I am glad to see the other Brazilian teams doing well. Our domestic tour is very competitive. We take a lot of pride in our sport and always relish the thought of presenting the best of Beach Volleyball to our fans."

All seven Brazilian teams posted at least two wins Wednesday, including Main Draw qualifiers Mônica Paludo/Angela Vieira and Maria Rufino Salgado/Carolina Solberg Salgado. After losing their opening matches to Brazilian opponents, both teams captured their next two matches each in the contender's bracket to give the South American country a 14-2 record Wednesday.

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