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

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Austrians & Brazilians Seek South Africa Beach Volleyball Medals
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, March 27, 2004 - Austrians Robert Nowotny and Peter Gartmayer and three teams from Brazil have reached the semi-finals of the US$180,000 South Africa Open after two tandems from the South American country won elimination matches in the final round of the contender's bracket here Saturday.

Third-seeded Benjamin Insfran and Harley Marques of Brazil earned the first semi-final qualifying match by eliminating 18th-seeded Javier Bosma and Pablo Herrera of Spain 21-14, 16-21 and 15-10. Tande Ramos and Franco Neto secured the third and final spot for Brazil in the semi-finals by ousting ninth-seeded Christoph Dieckmann and Andreas Scheuerpflug of Germany 21-14 and 24-22.

Top-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil face Benjamin and Harley in the first All-Brazilian semi-final. Nowotny and Gartmayer, who have secured their best-ever finish on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, play Tande and Franco in the second semi-final match. The Austrians had to qualify for the Main Draw with two wins Tuesday and Wednesday.

Saturday's semi-finals determine the pairings for Sunday's medal matches. The gold medal match will see the winning team split the $27,000 first-place prize in the second SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event of the season. The men's tour opened last week in Salvador, Brazil.

"We are ready to play," said Emanuel before the match as the fans at Camp Bays watched Saturday first four elimination matches in ideal weather conditions. "I am glad for Brazil to have three teams in the semi-finals. We know we'll have one Brazilian team in the finals and we are hoping it is us."

Emanuel and Ricardo won last week's season opener in Salvador where they defeated Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel of Switzerland in the finals. The 2003 FIVB World Champions, Emanuel and Ricardo are seeking their fourth-straight SWATCH gold medal and seventh overall since forming their partnership at the end of the 2002 season.

The Brazilians have won their last 24 matches on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour since losing last September in Los Angeles to Dax Holdren and Stein Metzger. Emanuel and Ricardo have won 72 of the 85 FIVB matches they have played together with a perfect 6-0 mark in gold medal finals.