Men's competition, Gstaad
From 16 June To 20 June 2004

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France, Japan, Netherlands & Spain Wednesday's Big Winners
GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND, June 16, 2004 - Led by teams from France, Japan, Spain and the Netherlands, Beach Volleyball tandems from 12 countries advanced to the final rounds of the 49-team men's Qualification Tournament after winning opening elimination matches here Wednesday in the 1on1 Energy Open.

The seventh men's stop on the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, two teams each from France, Japan, Spain and the Netherlands will compete for the remaining eight spots in the 32-team Main Draw that starts Friday in the US$360,000 event. Other countries advancing tandems to Thursday's final qualifying rounds are Austria, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States.

The only head-to-head meeting Thursday between the double-winning countries from Wednesday's action will match second-seeded Stephane Canet and Mathieu Hamel of France against Richard Kogel and Rick Wiggers of the Netherlands. The French pair became the No. 1 team in the elimination bracket after top-seeded qualifier Luizão Correa and Harley Marques of Brazil failed to advance from Thursday's morning country quota matches.

Also advancing to Thursday's play was Javier Luna and Raul Mesa, who won the 2002 Under-21 FIVB World champion. Mesa is attempting to follow in the foot-steps of his FIVB Under-21 championship partner Herrera and Brazil's Pedro Cunha. Herrera teamed with his new partner Javier Bosma to win last month's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event in China. Cunha won last week's stop in Puerto Rico with Pará Ferreira.

Cunha, who is not competing in the 1on1 Energy Open, won the 2001 and 2003 Under-21 titles. Mesa and Herrera, who play third-seeded Kristjan Kais and Rivo Vesik of Estonia for a Main Draw berth Thursday, were the Under-21 winners in 2002 when they upset Cunha and Adriano Fonseca in the finals. The Estonians finished fourth last month at the Serbia & Montenegro Open.

Luizão and Harley dropped an 18-21, 21-17 and 17-15 in 60 minutes to fellow Brazilians Fabio Magalhães and Paulo Emilio Silva in one of the four country quota sessions Wednesday morning. The seventh-seeded Magalhães and Paulo Emilio, who are playing in their third SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event together, play 13th-seeded Kentaro Asahi and Koichi Nishimura of Japan for a spot in the Main Draw.

The men's Main Draw starts Friday and concludes Sunday when the final two teams compete for the $27,000 first-place prize. Part of the Olympic Beach Volleyball process, the 1to1 Energy Open will be the first of four-straight events in Europe before the July 11 deadline to determine the 24 men's teams for the 2004 Athens Games in August. The process concludes with events in Germany, Norway and Mallorca.