Eight teams will battle for a berth in the semifinals of the Olympic Women's Beach Volleyball competition on August 17.
The encounter between Ana Paula Conelly and Larissa Franca of Brazil and defending champions Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor of the United States promises to be extraordinary.
The hastily arranged Brazilian duo have proved to be one of the best offensive teams in the competition, while their unbeaten opponents are one of the best defensive pairs.
Top seeds Tian Jia and Wang Jie will face Stefanie and Doris Schwaiger. As the giant killers, if not the dark horses of the competition, the Austrian sisters have produced two major upsets against Greece's Vasiliki Karantasiou and Vasiliki Arvaniti, as well as Germany's Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig. It is doubtful whether the Austrian pair will continue their giant killing run when they go head-to-head with the in-form top seeds.
In a heavyweight encounter, the No. 4 seeds Xue Chen and Zhang Xi of China will take on the No. 5 seeds Nicole Branagh and Elaine Youngs of the United States. Both teams have performed well in the tournament, so the winning team will deserve its place in the semifinals.
The No. 6 seeds Renata Ribeiro and Talita Rocha of Brazil stormed into the quarterfinals unbeaten, but their quarterfinal against Australians Natalie Cook and Tamsin Barnett will not be easy. Cook won bronze at Atlanta 1996 and gold at Sydney 2000.
(BOCOG August 16, 2008)