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

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Cunha-Para safely through as Canadians suffer
Espinho, Portugal, June 3, 2004 - Pedro Cunha and Para of Brazil qualified for the main draw of the 2004, Swatch - FIVB World Tour Portugal Open in Espinho on Thursday after they followed a 2-0 (21-12, 21-15) win over Portugal's Bruno Carvalho and Rui Tato with a 2-1 (22-24, 21-11, 15-13) triumph against Italians Fabio Gali and Ricardo Fenili. "Right now we must rest," a lethargic Para confessed after his team had completed a heavy schedule of games over the past couple of days.

"The Italian team played very well and we are very tired," Para went on to say. "Nobody has played more games than us lately, that's for sure. Month after month we have been playing qualification and then main draw and in the last two tournaments we have finished very well. In china we won the bronze medal and in Serbia and Montenegro we were seventh. Here we had two country quota matches against two good Brazilian teams and right now we had another tough match. We are a little tired."

Should they continue to gain winning results in the future, team Cunha-Para will certainly be automatic qualifiers, however, as they have only teamed up very recently they must press on the hard way. "The problem is we have been playing together for just three months and we don't have enough points to be in the main draw," said Para. "We're working hard to get enough points to qualify for the main draw of competitions in the future," added the 30-year-old.

Italian star Ricardo Fenili was looking forward to the forthcoming European championships at Timmendorfer Strand, Germany after his side exited at the hands of Brazil. "Most importantly I think we played a good match today," Fenili stated. Para and Pedro Cunha are a great team and they have an exceptional block and defence game. Today we sided out well however our serving wasn't our strong point. I think that at the end of the game the score was correct becasue they played slightly better than us. We wish them good luck for the rest of the tournament and we are now going to prepare for the European Championships in Timmendorfer Strand."

The day's big surprise came from the collapse of Canadian teams John Child and Mark Heese and Conrad Leinemann and Richard Van Huizan. Child-Heese were downed 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) by Norwegian outfit Tarjei Skarlund and Kjel Arne Goranson while Leinenmann-Van Huizan were surprised by a 1-2 (21-16, 19-21, 10-15) reverse against Milen Stoyanov and Boris Yankov of Bulgaria.

The run of Kiwis Jason Lochhead and Kirk Pitman came to an abrupt end when they lost 2-0 (21-11, 21-16) to Russian pair Roman Arkaev and Dmitri Barsouk while Serbia and Montenegro semi-finalists, Kristjan Kais and Rivo Vesik of Estonia endured a lengthy fight before winning against Greeks Thanassis Michalopoulos and Pavlos "Beli" Beligratis, 2-1 (18-21, 21-13, 15-12) the final score.