Women's competition, Shanghai
From 26 May To 30 May 2004

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Austrians Secure Main Draw Debut at Women's China Open
SHANGHAI, CHINA, May 27, 2004 - Sara Montagnolli and Barbara Hansel from Austria upset Ester Alcon and Catalina Pol of Spain 21-16, 15-21 and 15-11 in Jinshan District of Shanghai Thursday afternoon to secure their SWATCH-FIVB World Tour Main Draw debut at the 2004 Women's China Open.

Seeded 10th in the 32-team Qualification Tournament, Montagnolli and Hansel beat the seventh-seeded Spaniards to advance into "money round" for the first time.

"We are so happy with the win," said Montagnolli. "It's just our second season together and we qualified for the Main Draw for the first time."

"Since we have reached the Main Draw, we will have fun and enjoy Beach Volleyball in the next matches," said Montagnolli. "Hopefully we will beat more good teams."

After splitting the first two sets with their "good friends" Alcon and Pol, Montagnolli and Hansel pulled away from an 9-8 lead in the tiebreaker to ice the victory and their best finish together.

"We played well in the first and third sets, but made a lot of mistakes in the second," Montagnolli said. "We were very nervous."

The other upset in Thursday's final round of the Qualification Tournament saw 14th seeds Marie Lessard and Sarah Maxwell of Canada eliminate third-seeded Norwegians Kathrine Maaseide and Susanne Glesnes 19-21, 21-16 and 15-12.

Other teams qualifying for the Main Draw from the Qualification Tournament included top seeds Andrea Ahmann/Jana Vollmer of Germany, second seeds Ryoko Tokuno/Chiaki Kusuhara from Japan, fourth seeds Esteves Ribalta/Milagros Crespo from Cuba, fifth seeds Virginie Kadjo/Ethel-Julie Arjona of France, sixth seeds Laura Bruschini/Annamaria Solazzi of Italy and eighth seeds Aikaterini Nikolaidou/Maria Tsiartsiani of Greece.

The 32-team Main Draw of the $180,000 Women's China Open will start on Friday and the medal matches are set for Sunday afternoon with the winning team to split the $27,000 first-place prize.