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ADRIANA & SHEDLA NOTCH ANOTHER SWATCH FINAL FOUR¯ APPEARANCE
Warsaw, Poland, June 8, 2007 - Legendary Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede continued to add their streak of seasons with “final four” appearances here Friday by capturing a pair of matches in the US$200,000 GE Money Bank Warsaw Open to reach their 94th SWATCH-FIVB World Tour semi- final.
Enroute to reaching a FIVB “final four” for the 12th-straight season, the fifth-seeded Adriana and Shelda upset top-seeded Jie Wang and Jia Tian 21-17 and 21-14 in 40 minutes in the first semi-final- qualifying match at the second annual GE Money Bank Warsaw Open on the Agrykola Prak sand courts in Mysliwiecka.
Brazilian rivals and third-seeded Talita Antunes and Renata Ribeiro earned the second “final four” berth Friday afternoon by snapping seventh-seeded Tamsin Barnett and Natalie Cook’s nine-game SWATCH-FIVB World Tour winning streak at nine with a 21-17 and 21-18 victory over the Australians in 39 minutes.
Adriana and Shelda are the winningest team in men’s and women’s SWATCH history with 31 goal medals, $2,136,765 in earnings and 564 match victories (against 124 defeats) in 112 FIVB starts together since forming their partnership at the end of the 1995 season when the Brazilians placed seventh in their first-ever event together. Two-time SWATCH-FIVB World Champions with a pair of Olympic silver medals, Adriana and Shelda’s first “final four” was in March 1996 in Rio de Janeiro where they captured the bronze medal. Since their first podium placement on Copacabana Beach, Adriana and Shelda have compiled a 31-29 title match mark with 83 medals. “Obviously, we are very please with our play today,” said the 38-year old Adriana as her team opened competition Friday with a 21-19 and 21-19 victory over fourth-seeded Chen Xue and Xi Zhang of China. “This has been a tough year since I missed two months of competition in Brazil with a right knee injury. Since I am not in my best shape due to the injury, I am very fortunate to have a great partner like Shelda.” Talita and Renata, who reached their third “final four” this season and the 12th-time since forming their partnership in 2005, avenged a 21-19, 19-21 and 15-9 setback to Barnett and Cook last week in Seoul when the Aussies defeated three teams from Brazil enroute to winning the Korean gold medal. A bronze medal in the SWATCH season opener last month in Shanghai along with a gold medal finish three weeks ago in Singapore, Talita and Renata opened play Friday with a 19-21, 21-18 and 15-13 victory over 22nd-seeded Vasso Karadassiou and Vassiliki Arvaniti of Greece. Saturday’s six-match schedule opens with elimination matches to determine the last two “final four” teams to face the Brazilians. Barnett and Cook will play the winner of the match between Xue/Zhang and sixth-seeded Stephanie Pohl/Okka Rau of Germany for a semi-final berth opposite of Adriana and Shelda. Second-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca, a 24-22, 15-21 and 16-14 loser in their first match Friday to Barnett and Cook, play Karadassiou and Arvaniti in an opening elimination match Saturday with the winner challenging Wang and Tian for a “final four” spot against Renata and Talita. The GE Money Bank Warsaw Open continues through Sunday when the final two teams compete for the $32,000 first-place prize in the fourth of 18 women’s events on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour calendar. The event is also part of the qualifying process for the Beijing 2008 Olympics where 24 teams per gender with compete in the Summer Games.