SHANGHAI, CHINA, May 3, 2007 - With seven teams in the women’s 32-team Main Draw for the US$400,000 China Shanghai Jinshan Open, Beach Volleyball tandems from host China and Brazil combined to win all their matches in the first-round here Thursday.
The first of 14 double gender events on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour calendar, the women’s China Shanghai Jinshan Open continues with two more rounds Thursday leading to 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.
Winning opening matches for host China were the teams of top-seeded Jie Wang/Jia Tian, second-seeded Chen Xue/Xi Zhang, 20th-seeded Ying Zhang/Linjun Ji and 21st-seeded Lu Wang/Man Zuo. Chen Xue and Xi Zhang Xi are the defending China Shanghai Jinshan Open by defeating Jie Wang and Jia Tian 23-21 and 21-14 in the 2006 gold medal match.
Posting opening wins for Brazil were the tandems of third-seeded Leila Barros/Ana Paula Connelly, fourth-seeded Talita Antunes/Renata Ribeiro and 10th-seeded Carolina Salgado/Maria Clara Salgado. Missing from Brazil’s women’s lineup is Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca, who captured the 2005 China Shanghai Jinshan Open before placing third last season by defeating a Chinese team for the bronze medal.
Teams from Germany (eighth-seeded Rieke Brink-Abeler/Hella Jurich and 22nd-seeded Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig) and Norway (fifth-seeded Nila Ann Hakedal/Ingrid Torlen and sixth-seeded Susanne Glesnes/Kathrine Maaseide) accounted for two wins each in the first-round.
Other countries posting wins were Cuba (ninth-seeded Dalixia Fernandez Grasset/Tamara Larrea Peraza), Finland (14th-seeded Emilia Nystrom/Erika Nystrom), Japan (17th-seeded Mika Teru Saiki/Chiaki Kusuhara), Latvia (26th-seeded Inese Jursone/Inguna Minusa) and Russia (18th-seeded Alexandra Shiryaeva/Natalya Uryadova).
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 2007 season is also highlighted by the SWATCH-FIVB World Championships in the Swiss Alps village of Gstaad July 24-29.
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). The 2007 schedule also features Grand Slam stops in Paris (June 19-24), Norway (Stavanger, June 26-July 1), Berlin (July 10-15) and Austria (Klagenfurt, Aug. 1-5).
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS