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

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Another All-Brazilian SWATCH-FIVB World Tour Gold Medal Match
KLAGENFURT, AUSTRIA, August 1, 2004 - For the second-time in two weeks and the third-time this season on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, two teams from Brazil will compete for an event gold medal as second-seeded Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos and seventh-seeded Franco Neto/Tande Ramos won their semi-final matches here Sunday in the US$540,000 A1 Grand Slam.

While Franco and Tande earned a forfeit win over Brazilian rivals Benjamin Insfran and Marcio Araujo in the first semi-final Sunday, Emanuel and Ricardo earned a hard-fought 17-21, 21-16 and 15-11 victory in 56 minutes over 11th-seeded Christoph Dieckmann and Andreas Scheuerpflug of Germany.

For the Brazilians, the "road" to the finals has not been easy since both dropped earlier matches in the double-elimination tournament and had to win contender's bracket contests to advance to the "final four," including five for Franco and Tande and three by Emanuel and Ricardo.

Sunday's final will be the 41st all-Brazilian gold medal match in 160 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events since the start of the international circuit in 1987. Franco and Tande won the first gold medal meeting in March between the two teams at Cape Town, South Africa. Emanuel and Ricardo defeated Franco and Tande last week in Poland for the title.

"I am glad that one is over," said Emanuel after his team's semi-final win over the Germans. "In a way, I think playing the extra matches this week has been good for us since it gives Ricardo a chance to really work his ankle out before taking the next two weeks off before the Olympics."

Ricardo sprained his right ankle three weeks ago in Mallorca that resulted in the Brazilians forfeiting their next two matches on the Mediterranean island. The world's top-ranked team missed the next event completely in Marseille, France. "The big guy is moving around pretty good," said Emanuel, who will be seeking to extend his record 47th SWATCH-FIVB World Tour title.

Benjamin could not play in Sunday's first semi-final match due to an abdominal strain that he aggravated Saturday afternoon in their semi-final qualifying win over a team from the Netherlands. Benjamin and Marcio Araujo were the defending A1 Grand Slam champions after defeating Stein Metzger and Kevin Wong of the United States in the 2003 gold medal match.

Emanuel and Ricardo have also won A1 Grand Slam titles. Emanuel won the first four Klagenfurt titles, including three-straight with Jose Loiola (1998-2000). Ricardo teamed with Loiola to win the 2002 crown after placing second in 2001 when Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde of Argentina won the gold medal when the event was the site of the FIVB World Championships.

The A1 Grand Slam is the sixth of seven mixed gender events on the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour this season. The women's gold medal match was won Saturday 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.