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  Saint Petersburg  2006   Men's Open
20.07.2006 -  23.07.2006


Marcio Araujo & Fabio Net SWATCH-FIVB World Tour Russian Gold

St. Petersburg, Russia, July 23, 2006 - Last season’s disappointment on the Neva River turned into this year’s celebration for Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes as the Brazilians won their sixth SWATCH-FIVB World Tour gold medal here Sunday afternoon at the US$400,000 St. Petersburg Open.

Seeded second in the ninth SWATCH Beach Volleyball stop this season, Marcio Araujo and Fabio controlled the action from the start against third-seeded Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann of Germany to post a 21-18 and 21-17 gold medal win in 52 minutes on the Peter-And-Paul Fortress centre court before a near-capacity crowd of 4,000 fans.

It was the second-straight gold medal finish for Marcio Araujo and Fabio, who captured last week’s SWATCH stop in Canada where they defeated Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos in the All-Brazilian Montreal finale.  With Sunday’s win, Marcio Araujo and Fabio shared the $32,000 first-place prize for winning for the third-time this season on the international circuit.

It was Emanuel and Ricardo that spoiled Marcio Araujo and Fabio’s 2005 St. Petersburg Open appearance by defeating their Brazilian rivals 21-19, 22-24 and 18-16 in the 72-minute gold medal match.  Sunday, Emanuel and Ricardo placed fourth after dropping the bronze medal match to the Netherlands’ Jochem De Gruijter and Gijs Ronnes 21-19 and 21-19 in 39 minutes.

Sunday’s finale was the fifth-meeting between the two teams with Marcio Araujo and Fabio now holding a 4-1 edge with the German’s lone victory last month in Portugal.  For their second-place finish, Brink and Dieckmann split $22,000 as they earned their fourth podium placement in six SWATCH starts this season.

“We are now playing our best Beach Volleyball of the season,” said the 32-year old Marcio Araujo, who was named the SWATCH most outstanding player for the St. Petersburg Open.  “It is important to be playing good right now since we have two grand slam events coming up in Paris and Austria.  The Germans are a very aggressive team.  You have to keep the pressure on them throughout the match.  They play hard.”

Marcio Araujo and Fabio, who won the 2005 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships in Berlin, where competing in their fifth-straight international finale and sixth in nine starts this season.  Since forming their partnership at the start of the 2005 season, the Brazilians have now claimed 15 podium placements, 16 “final four” finishes, $493,300 in winnings and a 122-30 match mark in 23 SWATCH starts together.

Sunday’s men’s podium featured teams from three different countries for the first-time this season as Brazilians have had at least two teams on seven of the previous eight SWATCH medal stands.  The only other time the South Americans did not have two podium berths was last month in Croatia when the United States placed second and third as Emanuel and Ricardo captured the top spot.

The bronze medal for De Gruijter and Gijs Ronnes was also Netherlands’ first men’s Beach Volleyball medal in the 20-year history of the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.  Seeded 27th, De Gruijter and Ronnes won seven of their nine matches this week to share the $16,000 third-place prize.  The Dutch’s only setbacks were to Marcio Araujo/Fabio and Brink/Dieckmann.

Emanuel and Ricardo, who split $12,000 for fourth-place, maintained their streak of nine-straight SWATCH-FIVB World Tour “final four” finishes this season.  The winningest men’s team in SWATCH history with 23 gold medals and $1,088,330 in earnings, Emanuel and Ricardo have won four titles this season with three silver medals.

Emanuel and Ricardo will be seeking their third SWATCH grand slam title starting Thursday in Paris for the $580,000 Henkel Grand Chelem.  The Brazilians captured the first two men’s grand slam stops in Switzerland and Norway by defeating Marcio Araujo and Fabio in both finals.

The fifth of seven-straight double gender events, the St. Petersburg Open’s women’s final was played Saturday were top-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca of Brazil defeated fifth-seeded Xue Chen and Zhang Xi of China for the $32,000 first-place prize.

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