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

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Switzerland Advances Three Teams
GSTAAD, SWITZERLAND, June 18, 2004 - After Thursday's disappointment of not advancing a women's team to the second day of Main Draw play, Switzerland's men had three tandems earning spots in the third-round of the winner's bracket as each won two matches here Friday.

With the advancements to Saturday's opening winner's bracket matches in the US$360,000 1to1 Energy Open, it marked the first-time this season for the Swiss men that they had three unbeaten teams from the first day of action on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour in seven events.

While two other Swiss teams were dropping their first-round matches to teams from Brazil, the tandems of Patrick Heuscher/Kobel, the Laciga brothers (Martin and Paul) and Sascha Heyer/Markus Egger were bringing "joy" to this community in the Alps.

"It's important for us to play well this week," said Kobel after winning matches over teams from the Netherlands and Puerto Rico Friday. "We are playing pretty good now, and hopefully, we can get everyone excited on Sunday. But first, we must get past the Lacigas tomorrow morning."

Seeded second in the 32-team Main Draw, Heuscher and Kobel know the "feeling" of competing for a medal on the final day of a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event. The pair, which has placed third in international events this season in Brazi,l and Serbia and Montenegro, won the bronze medal here last season.

The seventh-seeded Lacigas, the 2001 silver medallists at the 1to1 Energy Open, posted wins Friday over teams from France and Germany. In defeating 10th-seeded Andreas Scheuerpflug and Christoph Dieckmann of Germany in their second match, the 36 points the Swiss brothers scored in winning 21-17 and 36-34 was the most in a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour set this season.

"I am glad that match is over," said Martin Laciga as he mingled among the thousands attending the mixed gender event. "When playing in those high-scoring sets, you can not lose your concentration and get frustrated if you fall behind. You have to stay focus."

Heyer and Egger posted wins over teams from Austria and Brazil to achieve their best first-day start in a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event this season. "I think the crowds here really help us a lot," said Heyer. "Getting two wins today was very important as now we face the top-ranked team in the world Saturday morning."

Seeded eighth, Heyer and Egger challenge top-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil in their first match Saturday morning. The winner of that match faces another Brazilian team as the South American country also advanced fifth-seeded Franco Neto and Tande Ramos to Saturday where they play fourth-seeded Benjamin Insfran and Marcio Araujo, who won the 2003 Gstaad title.

Saturday's other opening winner's bracket match will have two German teams playing with the winner facing a team from the All-Switzerland match. Third-seeded Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckermann will be challenged by 27th-seeded Niklas Rademacher/David Klemperer. Dieckmann and Reckermann, who won the European Championships last Sunday, placed third in the 1to1 Energy Open in 2003.

The men's Main Draw continues Saturday with 18 matches to determine the "final four" teams for Sunday's semi-finals. Sunday's finalists will be competing for the $27,000 first-place prize.