|BERLIN, GERMANY, June 25, 2004 - For the top-ranked team on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, the format for the US$60,000 Smart Grand Slam is "great", but Brazil's Emanuel Rego does not a repeat of last week's results where the South American country played for the bronze medal.
Emanuel and Ricardo Santos won their first three matches this week to advance to a Saturday morning's All-Brazilian meeting with fourth-seeded Benjamin Insfran and Marcio Araujo to determine the first of four semi-final slots for Sunday's final rounds.
Joining the two Brazilian teams in the fourth-round of the winner's bracket will be second-seeded Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel of Switzerland and third-seeded Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckermann of Germany.
All four teams played same matches last Saturday in Switzerland where Emanuel and Ricardo joined the Germans as the first two semi-final qualifiers. However, the German and Swiss teams prevailed in the Gstaad semi-finals to net the first All-European finale on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour since 1994. And Emanuel and Ricardo defeated Benjamin and Marcio Araujo for the bronze medal.
"Right now, we are focused on Saturday's morning match. We are not looking to repeat last week's finish," Emaneul added. "I like this match format this week. We don't have to play two matches every day like we do at a regular event. It will help us prepare for Athens."
Emanuel and Ricardo scored a 23-21 and 23-21 win over eighth-seeded Sascha Heyer and Markus Egger of Switzerland Friday afternoon. Benjamin and Marcio Araujo pushed 28th-seeded Stephane Canet and Mathieu Hamel of France into the elimination bracket with a 21-15 and 21-13 win.
Dieckmann and Reckermann, who dropped the Swiss finale to Heuscher and Kobel, out-lasted 11th-seeded Andrew Schacht and Joshua Slack of Australia 21-17, 20-22 and 15-8. Heuscher and Kobel remained unbeaten with a 21-19 and 26-24 win over 26th-seeded Francisco Alvarez and Juan Rosell of Cuba.
The Smart Grand Slam, the second of five-straight mixed gender events on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, is weighted heavier in terms of Olympic qualifying points as compared to other tournaments on the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.
In addition to the increased prize money for the event, the Main Draw teams will also receive a "big" boost in placement points. For the Smart Grand Slam, the winning team will receive 600 points with the total decreasing by 60 points per place.
Part of the Olympic Beach Volleyball process, the Smart Grand Slam is the second of four-straight events in Europe before the July 11 deadline to determine the 24 men's teams for the 2004 Athens Games in August. The process concludes with events in Norway and Spain.