STARE JABLONKI, POLAND, June 6, 2008 - Tyra Turner and Rachel Wacholder of the United States will be competing with three teams from Brazil for the GE Money Bank Mazury Open gold medal as all four Beach Volleyball tandems won semi-final-qualifying matches here Friday at the US$350,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour event.
After losing their first chance for a spot in Saturday’s semi-finals, the sixth-seeded Turner and Wacholder rebounded to oust fifth-seeded compatriots Jen Boss and April Ross 21-17 and 21-16 in 42 minutes to advance to a “final four” match in the morning against the 12th-seeded Salgado sisters (Carolina and Maria Clara).
Top-seeded Talita Antunes and Renata Ribeiro gained the third Brazil berth in the semi-finals by posting a 21-19 and 21-14 elimination win in 30 minutes over seventh-seeded Rieke Brink-Abeler and Hella Jurich of Germany. Earlier Friday, Talita and Renata dropped a 21-15, 23-25 and 15-12 decision in 66 minutes to the Salgados.
Second-seeded Shelda Bede and Ana Paula Connelly will be Talita and Renata’s first opponent Saturday after advancing to the SWATCH FIVB World Tour “final four” with a 21-16 and 21-18 win in 41 minutes over Turner and Wacholder.
The two Brazilian teams have played four international matches against each other this season with Shelda and Ana Paula winning the first three and Talita and Renata victorious two weeks ago in Japan. Turner and Wacholder’s only meeting with the Salgados was a Grand Slam victory last August in Austria.
Turner and Wacholder earned their second SWATCH “final four” berth in 12 FIVB starts after winning a bronze medal last June in Paris. Talita and Renata will be playing in their 18th FIVB semi-final as the Brazilians have won 13 medals with a 5-6 mark in title matches after losing to Americans Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs in last week’s championship tilt in Barcelona, Spain.
The Salgados earned their second “final four” appearance Friday in 47 SWATCH starts with Shelda and Ana Paula advancing to their fourth semi-final in seven FIVB starts together since forming their partnership at the 2007 season finale in Thailand. The Brazilian sisters’ only medal was a bronze at the 2005 South African event in Cape Town. Shelda and Ana Paula claimed medals this year in Australia (bronze) and Korea (silver).
With three women’s teams in the SWATCH FIVB World Tour “final four” for the 33rd time, including the third-time this season, Brazil will be looking to sweep all three podium places for the 17th-time. In the 2008 SWATCH opener, Brazilians were 1-2-3 with Talita and Renata losing the gold medal match to compatriots Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca while Shelda and Ana Paula claimed the third spot on the podium.
The fourth double gender event on the 2008 SWATCH FIVB World Tour calendar, the men’s GE Money Bank Mazury Open semi-finals and medal matches will be played Sunday on the Hotel Anders centre court. With the resort on Szelag Maly Lake hosting a men’s event for the fifth-straight year, the women’s competition is the first as the previous two Polish stops were held the past two years in Warsaw. A second women’s event in Poland will be held in Myslowice September 2-7.
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