Women's competition, Stavanger
From 29 June To 3 July 2004

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Austrian & Norwegian Teams Post Beach Volleyball Country Quota Wins
STAVANGER, NORWAY, June 29, 2004 - The sixth annual ConocoPhillips Open started here Tuesday morning with women's Qualification Tournament quota matches being held to determine the final three berths for Austria and Norway in the elimination bracket.

Earning spots for host Norway were 36th-seeded Cathrine Lekven/Mari Evensen and 39th-seeded Synnove Marie Oyra/Hedda Finstad. With three teams already in the Main Draw, Norway will have a chance to advance three more tandems to the Main Draw as each team will have to win three-straight preliminary matches.

Other Norwegian teams in the qualifier are 27th-seeded Hilde Schjerven/Toril Oyan and 34th-seeded Marit Kristine Erlandsen/Eva Roald Ofstaas. The Main Draw entries for Norway are Susanne Glesnes/Kathrine Maaseide, Nila Ann Hakedal/Ingrid Torlen and Cecilie Josefsen/Kristine Wiig.

Advancing from the Austrian country quota playoffs was 29th-seeded Irina Brandstetter/Annabelle Borchard. Other teams from Austria in the qualifier are 15th-seeded Barbara Hansel/Sara Montagnolli, 22nd-seeded Christina Gschweidl/Sabine Swoboda and 25th-seeded Doris Schwaiger/Stefanie Schwaiger.

A total of 24 more women's matches will be played Tuesday in the 43-team Qualification Tournament. The final 16 teams will play Wednesday to determine the final nine berths in the 32-team Main Draw. The "money" rounds begin Thursday and conclude Saturday with the gold medal match where the winners shared the $27,000 first-place prize.

Two Main Draw teams withdrew from the competition Tuesday along the changing of a partnership of an American tandem. Brazil's Ana Paula Connelly and Sandra Pires withdrew from the ConocoPhillips Open late last week due to an injury as did the United States' Misty May, who has been hampered the past month with an abdominal strain.

Pires, who had to withdraw from last week's Germany stop due to a leg injury, and Ana Paula captured the 2003 ConocoPhillips Open when they defeated May and Kerri Walsh in the gold medal match. With May sidelined, Walsh will play with Rachel Wacholder in the Main Draw.

A shoulder injury forced Australia's Natalie Cook from the competition with Nicole Sanderson. Also withdrawing was Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede, who returned to their native Brazil after clinching their expected second-seed for the Athens Olympic Games behind May and Walsh.