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

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Dieckmann & Scheuerpflug Face Top Brazilian Teams for A1 Grand Slam Medals
KLAGENFURT, AUSTRIA, July 31, 2004 - If it wasn't enough for Christoph Dieckmann and Andreas Scheuerpflug to face one Brazilian team per SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event, it will be even tougher for the Germans here Sunday to face two of three South American tandems in the "final four" of the US$540,000 A1 Grand Slam.

Seeded 11th in the 32-team Main Draw, the Germans posted an 18-21, 21-14 and 16-14 win in 57 minutes over 23rd-seeded Julien Prosser and Mark Williams of Australia here Saturday to advance to their second "final four" this season and third in their 23-event SWATCH-FIVB World Tour career together.

With the victory, Dieckmann and Scheuerpflug will challenge second-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos in Sunday's second semi-final while the first will featured fourth-seeded Benjamin Insfran and Marcio Araujo against seventh-seeded Franco Neto and Tande Ramos.

Both Brazilians advanced to the "final four" with wins over upset-minded Jochem DeGruijter and Gijs Ronnes from the Netherlands. Benjamin and Marcio Araujo, the A1 Grand Slam defending champions, defeating the 32nd-seeded DeGruijter and Ronnes 21-9 and 21-17 victory in 36 minutes.

Emanuel and Ricardo lost the first set 21-19 to the Netherlands pair before rebounding with a 21-18 and 15-13 win over DeGruijter and Ronnes in 55 minutes. Prior to their back-to-back losses to the 2004 Brazilian Beach Volleyball Olympians, DeGruijter and Ronnes had upset Athens-bound teams from Puerto Rico, Switzerland, the United States and Austria.

For Benjamin and Marcio Araujo, the A1 "final four" is their fourth in eight starts this season as the pair has been hampered by injuries. Marcio Araujo missed the first three events due to an early March appendix operation. Benjamin has been playing through a jammed thumb on his left hand."

While Benjamin and Marcio Araujo had to beat only one Athens-bound team (Germany's Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckerman) to reach the semi-finals, Christoph Dieckmann and Scheuerpflug had to defeat three 2004 Olympic contenders from Argentina, Cuba and Australia.

Franco and Tande have now advanced to five "final fours" this season in 12 starts as they have captured four medals, including a gold medal win in South Africa over Emanuel and Ricardo. Playing their first season together, Franco and Tande had won 14 and six SWATCH-FIVB World Tour titles, respectively, with different partners.

Ranked as the No. 1 on the Olympic qualifying list, Emanuel and Ricardo will be playing in their 17th "final four" since forming their partnership 23 events ago at the end of the 2002 season. The pair has won 10 gold medals together, including five this season.

For DeGruijter and Ronnes, the $13,500 pay check for finishing fifth this week is more than six times what the pair had earned in their 14 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events. The Netherlands National Champions, DeGruijter and Ronnes' best previous finishes were 25ths in Switzerland and Poland.

The eighth men's A1 Grand Slam concludes with Sunday's gold medal match. The women's gold medal match was won by Kerri Walsh and Rachel Wacholder of the United States as they defeated top-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede of Brazil for the title and the $40,500 first-place prize.