Stare Jablonki, Poland, June 4, 2008 - With a pair of upset wins here Wednesday at the US$350,000 GE Money Bank Mazury Open, Belgium's Liesbet Van Breedam and Liesbeth Mouha improved their standing for the Beijing 2008 Olympics by moving ahead of two teams into the 24th spot for Summer Games consideration.
Seeded 19th in the 32-team GE Money Bank Mazury Open Main Draw, Van Breedam and Mouha posted wins over teams from Mexico and Germany to advance to the third-round of the winner's bracket where the Belgium pair challenges sixth-seeded Tyra Turner and Rachel Wacholder of the United States.
After scoring a 22-20, 14-21 and 15-13 win in 46 minutes over 14th-seeded Mayra Garcia and Bibiana Candelas of Mexico to start play Wednesday, Van Breedam and Mouha posted their biggest win of the 2008 SWATCH FIVB World Tour season with a 27-25 and 21-14 victory in 47 minutes over third-seeded Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig of Germany.
At the start of the week, Van Breedam and Mouha were 90 points behind teams from Georgia and Latvia for the 24th on the Beijing provisional list as five-plus events remain on the qualifying schedule for the Olympics as the process concludes July 20 after a stop in Marseille, France.
With a ninth-place finish and 240 points guaranteed this week, Van Breedam and Mouha now has 1,430 points for their best eight finishes on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour since the start of the process in May 2007. One more win this week would move the Belgium team into the 23rd spot, with Finland's Nystrom twins (Emilia and Ericka) currently holding the position with 1,450 points.
Starting this week's play, the teams of Cristine "Saka" Santanna/Andrezza "Rtvelo" Martins of Georgia and Inguna Minusa/Inese Jursone of Latvia were ranked ahead of Van Breedam and Mouha as both tandems had 1,400 points. While the Georgians were eliminated in Tuesday's qualifier, Minusa and Jursone are still competing in the GE Money Bank Mazury Open’s contender's bracket with the Nystroms.
Three Brazilian teams will be competing in Thursday's opening winner's bracket matches, including top-seeded Talita Antunes/Renata Ribeiro, second-seeded Shelda Bede/Ana Paula Connelly and the 12th-seeded Salgado sisters (Carolina and Maria Clara). A fourth Brazilian team will be in the elimination bracket as 23rd-seeded Maria Antonelli and Leao Vanilda split a pair of matches Wednesday after winning Country Quota and qualifying matches on Monday and Tuesday.
Taltia and Renata will play 24th-seeded Kathrine Maaseide and Susanne Glesnes in their first match Thursday as the Norwegian advanced unbeaten by upsetting eighth-seeded Stephanie Pohl and Okka Rau of Germany 23-25, 21-18 and 15-13 in 58 minutes. Like Antonelli and Leao, Maaseide and Glesnes had to win qualifying matches Wednesday.
Fourth-seeded Vasso Karadassiou and Vassiliki Arvaniti of Greece, who placed fourth lastweek at the SWATCH stop in Barcelona, Spain, play the Salgados. In the bottom half of the GE Money Bank Mazury Open's winner's bracket, Shelda and Ana Paula will face seventh-seeded Rieke Brink-Abeler and Hella Jurich of Germany, who survived an upset bid by Antonelli and Leão 21-23, 21-15 and 15-10 in 48 minutes.
The fourth double gender event on the 2008 SWATCH FIVB World Tour calendar, 16 other women's teams remain in the competition with one defeat each. The women's event concludes Saturday with the men's medal matches Sunday. The winning teams will share the $28,000 first-place prizes as the Hotel Anders hosts an international Beach Volleyball event for the fifth-straight year.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images