Men's competition, Espinho
From 2 June To 6 June 2004

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Ricardo and Emanuel continue winning ways
Espinho, Portugal, June 5, 2004 - Brazilian superpowers Ricardo and Emanuel became the first team to advance to the semi-finals of the 2004, Swatch - FIVB World Tour, Portugal Open in Espinho on Saturday.

In ominous form all tournament the South Americans have almost coasted through to the last four and a couple of victories over Russians Roman Arkaev and Dmitri Barsouk and John Child and Mark Heese of Canada on the penultimate day of the competition means the World Champions can rest easy until Sunday's semi-finals.

Opening up their second day of play in the Portugal Open, Ricardo and Emanuel needed 33 minutes to defeat Arkaev-Barsouk in straight sets (21-14, 21-18). The Brazilians then went on to beat Child and Heese, again without dropping a set (21-14, 21-15).

"Here in Portugal, the sand is a little heavier so that makes the games more difficult to play," Emanuel commented in a post-match interview. "I thought the match was tough for them because they are not so tall. Our strategy was to serve a little easier at them in order to make them play and force some errors," the 31-year-old continued. "Our strengths today were our concentration and our serving. We also worked hard on finding new ways of killing off the points."

With wins against Swiss teams Laciga-Laciga and Heyer-Egger yesterday, Child and Hease then stunned Tande and Franco of Brazil before meeting Ricardo and Emanuel on centre court on Saturday. Another surprise failed to materialise, however, as Child and Heese couldn't keep pace with the Portugal Open favourites. "They played very well right from the start," Child conceded after the match. "When Ricardo is on his game, and he seemed to have a good feel for blocking today, he can put you in a lot of trouble.

"Mark (Heese) is about a foot shorter than Ricardo and he's not as long or lanky or as high up there so it's always difficult for us to side-out against them. If we make three or four points against that team it should be enough to keep us in the game. This time we managed that and it just wasn't sufficient for us. You're really behind the eight ball when your side-out game isn't working from the start so that was a big problem for us," Child added.