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

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Japanese fall to Swiss siblings on Swatch - FIVB World Tour
Espinho, Portugal, June 5, 2004 - Swiss brothers Paul and Martin Laciga saw off the challenge of popular Japanese pair Satoshi Watanabe and Katsuhiro Shiratori on Saturday as the main draw action continued at the Portugal Open in Espinho.

The Lacigas took 34 minutes to see off Japan in straight sets (17-21, 15-21). Meanwhile, Australia's Julien "Thunder" Prosser and Mark Williams persevered for almost an hour on court number two before emerging victorious against Germany's Christoph Dieckmann and Andreas Scheuerpflug by 2-1 (17-21, 21-13, 21-19).

Suffering disappointment against Canada's John Child and Mark Heese in their first match yesterday, the Laciga's have since turned things around with victories over Sweden and Norway and are slowly regaining their confidence. "We played a good game at the end of yesterday and we just tried to continue with that form today," Martin Laciga commented following Saturday's win. "It took us a while to get used to the deep sand but we are okay now and we can just start playing our own game."

Up next for Martin and Paul Laciga, is a game against the Russian surprise package of Arkaev-Barsouk (Roman and Dmitri). "We've never played them but I saw them against Ricardo and Emanuel this morning and they almost won a set so they are obviously a strong team and they are in good shape," Martin Laciga mentioned before dismissing his own side's chances of winning a medal here in Espinho. "I don't think we will have an opportunity to go for a medal at this tournament, we just want to play well in the next game and that's the only goal we can have right now."

Speaking after his team's fierce battle against Dieckmann-Scheuerpflug, Julien "Thunder" Prosser suggested that the Australian triumph was down to mental strength as opposed specific tactics employed by the team. "There was nothing technical in there today. When we go behind and find ourselves in tough situations, our strength lies in our mental perseverance, said Prosser. "We practiced against the same guys on Thursday and they crushed us, we were terrible so we were bringing that baggage in there with us and we were determined not to let that happen again," the 31-year-old added.

John Child and Mark Heese of Canada are continuing to cause upsets at the Portugal Open, the latest coming with a 2-0 (34-32, 21-16) victory over Brazil's Tande and Franco. Having advanced through the qualifying rounds, the Canadians put a couple of Swiss teams (Laciga-Laciga and Heyer-Egger) to the sword on Friday and their shock result against Tande and Franco on Saturday means Child and Heese will take on World Champions Ricardo and Emanuel in the next round.