SHANGHAI, CHINA, May 4, 2007 - Three women’s teams from Beach Volleyball power Brazil advanced to the finals of the winner’s bracket in the US$400,000 China Shanghai Jinshan Open here Friday morning along with the top-seeded tandem from host China.
While the Brazilian teams of third-seeded Leila Barros/Ana Paula Connelly and fourth-seeded Talita Antunes/Renata Ribeiro advanced as expected, the 10th-seeded Salgado sisters (Carolina and Maria Clara) gained another spot for the South American country in the final-round of the winner’s bracket by upsetting second-seeded Chen Xue and Xi Zhang of China 14-21, 21-19 and 15-13.
Chen Xue and Xi Zhang still have a chance to advance to Saturday’s semi-finals by winning three elimination matches starting later Friday against Chinese rivals 20th-seeded Ying Zhang/Linjun Ji or 21st-seeded Lu Wang/Man Zuo. Chen Xue and Xi Zhang are the defeating China Shanghai Jinshan Open champions after defeating Jie Wang and Jia Tian in the first-ever All-Chinese finale on the women’s SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.
Top-seeded Jie Wang and Jia Tian will face Talita and Renata in Friday’s first-semi-final qualifying match as the Chinese team holds a 3-2 edge in the series between the two teams. Jie Wang and Jia Tian won their opening match Friday morning by defeating eighth-seeded Rieke Brink-Abeler and Hella Jurich of Germany 21-18 and 23-21. Talita and Renata posted a 21-19, 17-21 and 15-10 win over fifth-seeded Nila Ann Hakedal and Ingrid Torlen of Norway.
The Salgado sisters challenge Leila and Ana Paula for a spot in the “final four” to guarantee Brazil a spot in Saturday’s semi-finals. Not counting international country quota matches, the Salgados have won the previous three SWATCH meetings with Leila and Ana Paula, who defeated sixth-seeded Susanne Glesnes and Kathrine Maaseide in their first match Friday 21-19, 17-21 and 15-13.
The season-opening event for both men and women on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour calendar, the women’s China Shanghai Jinshan Open continues through Sunday’s medal matches where the final two teams compete for the $32,000 first-place prize. The men’s Main Draw concludes Saturday on Jinshan Beach with teams from Brazil, Russia and Switzerland competing for the medals.
The China Shanghai Jinshan Open, which marks the 10th-straight year that China has hosted the international tour event since 1998, launches the qualifying process for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The fourth annual China Shanghai Jinshan Open is also the first of four Asian stops on the women’s SWATCH-FIVB World Tour in 2007. Other Asian stops are in Singapore (May 23-27), Seoul (May 30-June 3) and Thailand (Phuket, Oct. 31-Nov. 4).
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS