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

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Austrians Change Travel Plans After Netting Best Beach Finish
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, March 26, 2004 - It appears that Robert Nowotny and Peter Gartmayer are spending more time changing their travel plans than on the sand courts of Camps Bay as the Austrians continue to improve on their best-ever finish on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.

After winning a pair of matches here Thursday, Nowotny and Gartmayer had to initially alter their airline tickets back to Austria from last night to tonight. Now, the 26th-seeded team has to call the airlines again after upsetting second-seeded Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel of Switzerland15-21, 21-15 and 15-9 in one of Friday's first winner's bracket matches.

"We had no pressure on us today," said Nowotny, whose best finish with Gartmayer was a 13th in 2001 at Mallorca. "We felt that we had nothing to lose and just played very relaxed. The Swiss were coming off a silver medal finish in Brazil last week and appeared to be tight."

With three wins in the Main Draw in the US$180,000 South Africa Open along with securing two more qualifying wins earlier this week, Nowotny and Gartmayer put themselves back into contention for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. The Austrians now erase an 18-point finish from their Olympic slate and add at least 216 points to their total.

"With this finish, we put ourselves in better position to qualify for a spot in Athens," Nowotny noted. "Now it is back to the telephone to change are flight schedule again. We are playing well together and are very relaxed." Prior to this week's event, the Austrians had failed to qualify for the Main Draw in their last four SWATCH-FIVB World Tour starts.

The other "surprise" team in the South Africa Open was 29th-seeded Satoshi Watanabe and Katsuhiro Shiratori of Japan dropped their first Main Draw match after posting two upset wins Thursday by losing 23-25, 21-16 and 15-7 to 12th-seeded Tande Ramos and Franco Neto of Brazil.

Brazilians also won two other matches in the third-round of the winner's bracket Friday. Top-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Sanots out-lasted the eighth-seeded Laciga brothers (Martin and Paul) of Switzerland 16-21, 29-27 and 15-13 and third-seeded Benjamin Insfran and Harley Marques defeated sixth-seeded Dax Holdren and Stein Metzger of the United States 21-18 and 23-11.