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

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Alexandra & Mônica Upset Brazilian Form Chart on Copacabana Beach
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 23, 2004 - As expected, Brazil advanced four teams to the final two matches in the fourth-round of the winner's bracket here Thursday morning in the US$360,000 Banco do Brasil Women's Open.

However, a 21-18 and 21-18 win by 10th-seeded Alexandra Fonseca and Mônica Rodrigues over Braziian rivals and second-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca denied the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event the opportunity of having the top four-seeded teams playing for the first two semi-final berths in the 2004 season finale on Copacabana Beach.

"The windy conditions really helped us against Juliana and Larissa," said the Beach Volleyball veteran Mônica, who captured the bronze medal at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games with Adriana Samuel. "Our service game was very good and Alexandra was terrific on defense."

With four-straight wins this week, including three in the Main Draw and a qualifying win Monday, Alexandra and Mônica are guaranteed their best finish of the season with their previous top placement this season being a ninth at July's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour stop in Marseille, France. Alexandra and Mônica, who did not play together in 2003, posted two fourths and three fifths in eight events together in 2002.

"We have had our moments this season," Mônica added, "but overall, we have been disappointed with our play this year. We have a great opportunity now to reach the semi-finals, but it will not be easy starting with our next match against Olympians Ana Paula (Connelly) and Sandra (Pires). At least, we now have two chances to advance to Friday's semi-finals."

The third-seeded Ana Paula and Pires advanced to their match against Alexandra and Mônica by scoring a 25-23 and 21-9 win over sixth-seeded Daniela Gattelli and Lucilla Perrotta of Italy. Ana Paula and Pires finished fifth at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games after being eliminated by Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede.

Adriana and Shelda, the top-seeded team in the competition and winner of three SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events this season, gained a spot in the finals of the winner's bracket with a 21-19 and 21-10 win over the ninth-seeded Yanchulova sisters (Lina and Petia) of Bulgaria. Adriana and Shelda netted their second-straight Olympic silver medal for Brazil in Athens.

For the second-straight SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event, the Bede sisters will play against each other as older sister Shelda faces younger sister Shaylyn and Renata Ribeiro later Thursday for a spot in the semi-finals.

The fourth-seeded Shaylyn and Ribeiro posted a 14-21, 21-18 and 15-9 win over fifth-seeded Nicole Schnyder and Simone Kuhn of Switzerland. 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.

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