STAVANGER, NORWAY, July 1, 2006 - South Americans will play for the eighth men’s ConocoPhillips Grand Slam gold medal as three teams from Beach Volleyball power Brazil will compete against Argentina’s Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde after each tandem won elimination matches here Saturday on Vagen Harbor.
Paced by top-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos, Brazil will increase its Vagen Harbour medal count to at least 17 since the start of the Norwegian event in 1999 when the south hempishere country also swept the men’s Vagen Harbour podium.
Emanuel and Ricardo scored wins over teams from China and Switzerland to advance to their fourth-straight ConocoPhillips Grand Slam semi-final. The Brazilians will be looking for their third gold medal finish in 2006 and 22nd FIVB medal in 47 career starts since forming their partnership at the end of the 2002 season.
The reigning Olympic champions, Emanuel and Ricardo will face fourth-seeded Benjamin Insfran and Harley Marques in an All-Brazilian semi-final. The two teams played for the 2005 ConocoPhillips Grand Slam with Emanuel and Ricardo winning 21-16 and 21-19.
Benjamin and Harley, who have never defeated Emanuel and Ricardo in 10 previous SWATCH meetings, won three matches Saturday over teams from Spain, Estonia and Germany. Benjamin and Harley’s 21-17 and 21-18 win over fourth-seeded Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann earned them their 11th SWATCH “final four” appearance in 22 events.
Marcio Araujo and Fabio, the 2005 SWATCH-FIVB World champions, gained a spot in the semi-finals opposite of the Argentineans with a 21-17 and 21-12 victory over 12th-seeded Ricardo Lione and Matteo Varnier of Italy. It was the Brazilians second win in three meetings with the Italians, who defeated Marcio Araujo and Fabio two weeks ago in Portugal.
Baracetti and Conde, who will be competing in their first SWATCH “final four” since July 2004 in Marseille, France, earned a spot in the semi-finals y defeating 11th-seeded David Klemperer and Kjell Schneider 22-20, 20-22 and 18-16 in 73 minutes. Sunday’s semi-final match will be the first between the two teams as both Baracetti and Conde played the 2005 season with different partners.
“For Martin, I am glad we are back in a semi-final,” said Baracetti, who won the 2001 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships with Conde in Austria. “We have not played that bad this season and look forward to our match with Marcio and Fabio Sunday.”
The second of seven-straight double gender events on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, the ConocoPhillips Grand Slam “concludes Sunday for the men when the final two teams will be competing for the $42,300 first-place prize. The women’s competition ended Saturday with an All-Brazilian finale where top-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca defeated third-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede 21-18 and 21-17.