Warsaw, Poland, June 7, 2007 - Benefiting from an earlier upset along with rallying from a three-point deficit in their first GE Money Bank Warsaw Open match here Thursday, Hana Klapalova and Tereza Petrova of the Czech Republic are in position to post their best-ever finish on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.
The 24th-seeded Klapalova and Petrova have now secured a guaranteed ninth-place in the US$200,000 GE Money Bank Warsaw Open at Agrykola Prak in Mysliwiecka to match their previous career bests finishes at 2006 SWATCH events in Austria and Brazil. Klapalova and Petrova did win a couple of FIVB Satellite stops in 2005 and 2006.
The Czech Republic Beach Volleyball pair now enters the third-round of the winner’s bracket with 22nd-seeded Vasso Karadassiou and Vassiliki Arvaniti of Greece as the only two teams not seeded among the top eight tandems in the second annual GE Money Bank Warsaw Open. After placing 17th last week in Korea, the Greeks rebounded with two wins Thursday, including a 21-17, 17-21 and 15-13 victory over sixth-seeded Stephanie Pohl and Okka Rau of Germany.
Klapalova and Petrova opened play Thursday with an 18-21, 21-14 and 16-14 win over ninth-seeded Katarzyna Urban and Joanna Wiatr of Poland, who led 11-8 in the final set. The Czech posted their second win by defeating 25th-seeded Eiko Koizumi and Shinako Tanaka of Japan 21-14 and 21-19. The Japanese had opened play Thursday with a 21-16 and 21-15 victory over eighth-seeded Milagros Crespo and Imara Esteves Ribalta of Cuba.
Top-seeded Jie Wang and Jia Tian of China will be Klapalova and Petrova’s first challenge Friday. The Chinese pair has participated in the first three SWATCH-FIVB World Tour gold medal matches this season with a gold medal in the season opener in Shanghai.
The China-Czech Republic winner will advance to Friday’s first semi-final-qualifying match against fourth-seeded Chen Xue/Xi Zhang of China or fifth-seeded Adriana Behar/Shelda Bede of Brazil. Klapalova and Petrova have not beaten the Chinese in two previous matches while Xue and Zhang have a 4-2 edge in the series with the Brazilians.
The lower half of the winner’s bracket features two teams from Brazil being challenged Friday in the third-round by the Greeks and seventh-seeded Tamsin Barnett and Natalie Cook of Australia, who claimed last week’s SWATCH-FIVB World Tour gold medal in Korea.
Barnett and Cook, who now have won eight-straight SWATCH matches, challenge second-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca. The two teams met in last week’s semi-final in Seoul with the Australians posting a 21-13 and 21-16 win to advance to the finals where Barnett and Cook upset Wang and Tian 21-19 and 21-19.
Karadassiou and Arvaniti, who captured a European tour stop three weeks ago in Austria, will be playing third-seeded Talita Antunes and Renata Ribeiro of Brazil in their first match Friday. Talita and Renata, who defeated Wang and Tian for the Singapore gold medal three weeks ago, trail in the series 4-3 after losing the first, third, fifth and seventh SWATCH meetings to the Greeks.
Sixteen other teams remain in the double-elimination competition with one defeat each, including two teams from Poland. After Urban and Wiatr posted a 21-16, 14-21 and 15-11 win over Crespo and Esteves Ribalta, 10th-seeded Gosia Sobolewska and Dorota Wojtczak eliminated 26th-seeded Dana Cooke and Annie Martin with a 15-21, 21-16 and 15-9 win.
Competition continues through Sunday as the final two teams compete for the $32,000 first-place prize and the SWATCH gold medal. The GE Money Bank Warsaw Open is also part of qualifying for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as the process runs through July 20, 2008 to determine the 24-team fields per gender. A team’s best eight finishes from SWATCH FIVB World Tour events and FIVB-recognized Continental Championship Finals will be counted.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS