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

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Strong line-up for Portugal Open semis
Espinho, Portugal, June 5, 2004 - There will be a repeat of the recent Serbia and Montenegro Open final in Espinho on Sunday when Germans Markus Diekmann and Jonas Reckermann take to the sand to face Brazil's Ricardo and Emanuel in the Portugal Open semi-finals.

The day's other Swatch - FIVB World Tour semi-final will be contested between Norwegians Vegard Hoidalen and Jorre Andre Kjemperud and team Benjamin-Marcio Araujo from Brazil.

Tournament favourites Ricardo and Emanuel were the first of the four teams to reach the semis when they defeated Child and Heese in straights sets, (21-14, 21-15) and compatriots Benjamin and Marcio Araujo followed suit with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-19) victory over the aforementioned Dieckmann-Reckermann.

The Germans swiftly recovered in their losers bracket game against Mark Williams and Julian Prosser, winning 21-17, 21-12 to advance to the last four. "It was a huge effort from both teams in that last match because we were all really exhausted," Reckermann stated after the match with Prosser-Williams. "We started really aggressively and I was feeling good. We were very focused on our game."

Asked what he learned from the final match against Ricardo and Emanuel in Budva a week ago, Reckermann stated, "We didn't play badly in that final. We had a good side-out game which is important against a team like Ricardo and Emanuel. In Sunday's semi-final we need to put a lot of pressure on them with our service otherwise it's going to be very difficult because they are the best team in the world right now."

One year ago, Norway's Vegard Hoidalen and Jorre Andre Kjemperud reached the final of the Portugal Open in Espinho where they narrowly lost out to Ricardo and Emanuel. There are none more surprised than the Norwegians themselves to be once again chasing a final place this time around after their victorious 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 15-12) result against John Child and Mark Heese. "We have been struggling a lot this season and when we won our second game here it turned out to be our best competition so far," said Vegard Hoidalen.

"If you asked me before the tournament whether we could reach the final here again I would have said no but if we can continue the way we have been doing in Espinho we can beat anybody. We are playing better and better now and this is all very exciting for us. It's great to be back here in Portugal playing a good tournament," the Norwegian continued.

Having already lost to the Brazilians Benjamin and Marcio Araujo earlier in the competition Hoidalen is wary of what his team must do if they are to reverse that result in the semi-final. "If we're going to beat them we have to do it on nice serving and great technique," the blond Beach player urged. "Although they are higher than us in the rankings, we believe we are quite equal with them in terms of talent."