Men's South Africa Open 2004
Cape Town, March 23-28

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Camp Bays' Tides Slow South Africa Beach Volleyball Play
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, March 26, 2004 - Despite ideal weather conditions, the play for Friday's opening matches have been slowed due to high tides overnight in Camp Bays that covered two of the beach volleyball courts, including the featured stadium area.

"We'll use only three courts to start play Friday," said Nikos Sofianos, the FIVB Technical Supervisor for the second men's event on the 2004 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. "Since we only have 22 matches scheduled today, we should be able to complete the schedule as posted."

Following eight elimination matches to open Friday's schedule, the first of two rounds of winner's bracket matches will be held as five of the top eight-seeded teams advanced unbeaten to the second of four days of Main Draw play on the "damp" Camp Bays' courts.

The "surprise" teams of the US$180,000 South Africa Open are 26th-seeded Robert Nowotny and Peter Gartmayer of Austria and 29th-seeded Satoshi Watanabe and Katsuhiro Shiratori of Japan. Both teams posted a pair of upset wins Thursday.

After defeating fellow Austrian rivals and seventh-seeded Nikolas Berger and Clemens Doppler, Nowotny and Gartmayer, who also scored a win over 23rd-seeded Raul Papaleo and Ramon Hernandez of Puerto Rico Thursday, play second-seeded Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel of Switzerland Friday.

After scoring a comeback win over fourth-seeded Dain Blanton and Jeff Nygaard of the United States, Watanabe and Shiratori defeated 13th-seeded Francisco Alvarez and Juan Rosell of Cuba. The Japanese challenge 12th-seeded Tande Ramos and Franco Neto of Brazil in their first match Friday.

Other winner's bracket matches to open Friday's play has top-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Sanots playing the eighth-seeded Laciga brothers (Martin and Paul) of Switzerland while third-seeded Benjamin Insfran and Harley Marques of Brazil facing sixth-seeded Dax Holdren and Stein Metzger of the United States.

Play continues Saturday with six matches, including the semi-finals to determine the pairings for Sunday's medal matches. The gold medal match is set for Sunday where the winning team will split the $27,000 first-place prize.