Men's competition, Klagenfurt
From 28 July To 1 August 2004

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"Unbelievable" A1 Grand Slam Experience for DeGruijter and Ronnes
KLAGENFURT, AUSTRIA, July 30, 2004 - Seeded 32nd after having to qualify for the Main Draw, Jochem DeGruijter and Gijs Ronnes of the Netherlands expected to get only four more days of player's lounge privileges along with a share of the prize money for placing 25th.

With few expectations for even winning a match in the men's "money" rounds of the US$540,000 A1 Grand Slam, presented by Nokia, DeGruijter and Ronnes have now posted five-straight wins on the Lake Wörthersee waterfront courts, including a 28-30, 21-19 and 17-15 victory over host country favourites Peter Gartmayer and Robert Nownoty here Friday.

With their Friday win, DeGruijter and Ronnes have now posted four-straight victories over tandems "ticketed" for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. The Dutch pair will face another Olympic opponent Saturday morning when they challenge Brazil's Benjamin Insfran and Marcio Araujo

The fourth-seeded Benjamin and Marcio Araujo, the defending A1 Grand Slam champions, scored a 21-19 and 21-17 win over fifth-seeded Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckermann of German to advance to Saturday's morning match with DeGruijter and Ronnes, who captured the Netherland's country title two weeks ago.

"Unbelievable," said Ronnes after Friday's win. "Obviously, we are playing our best Beach Volleyball ever. I think we caught our first two Main Draw opponents by surprise, especially Blanton (Dain) and Nygaard (Jeff) form the United States. No one really knows us, except for a few European teams and our Dutch rivals."

DeGruijter and Ronnes scored wins over top-seeded Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel of Switzerland (19-21, 23-21 and 15-12) and the 17th-seeded Blanton and Nygaard (21-19, 15-21 and 15-11) Thursday. In their final of two qualifying wins Wednesday, the Dutch pair eliminated Puerto Rican Olympians Ramon Hernandez and Raul Papaleo.

Also advancing to the fourth-round of the winner's bracket where the victors advance to Sunday's semi-finals are 11th-seeded Christoph Dieckmann and Andreas Scheuerpflug of Germany and 23rd-seeded Julien Prosser and Mark Williams of Australia.

While the Germans scored a 14-21, 21-14 and 15-11 win over 19th-seeded Francisco Alvarez and Juan Rossell of Cuba, Prosser and Williams upset second-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil 21-18, 19-21 and 16-14.

While Christoph Dieckmann and Scheuerpflug are seeking their second "final four" berth this season and third since starting their partnership in 2002, the Aussies are looking for their second semi-final spot in their second season of playing together. Both teams have qualified for the Athens Olympic Games as their country's No. 2 team.

The eighth men's A1 Grand Slam continues Saturday with Sunday's gold medal match concluding the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour's pre-Olympic schedule. The women's "final four" matches will also be played Saturday where the winning team shares the $40,500 first-place prize.