Men's China Open 2004
Lianyungang, May 19-23

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Men's China Open Qualifier Features Upsets
Lianyugang, CHINA, May 19, 2004 - Tandems from India and New Zealand pulled off a pair of upsets on the opening day of the 2004 Swatch-FIVB World Tour Men's China Open here on Wednesday.

Seeded 20th in the 30-team men's Qualification Tournament, Agus Salim and Koko Darkuncoro of India came from one set down to beat 13th-seeded Russians Sergey Sayfulin and Mikhall Kouchnerev 26-28, 21-14 and 21-19 to keep alive their hopes of making the Main Draw. Earlier on Wednesday, New Zealanders Kirk Pitman and Jason Lochhead, the 21-seeds, surprised 12th-seeded Mario Silva and Miguel Xisto from Angola 21-18 and 21-10.

It is the first time that China has hosted an international men's Beach Volleyball event with the stars of the Swatch-FIVB World Tour gathering at the coastal city to participate in the $180,000 China Open.

Higher seeded tandems dominated the rest of Wednesday morning's action at the newly built Lianyugang Stadium.

Host players Gao Fangtian/Han Shengwei and Yang Yajie/Wang Lian dropped matches to Conrad Leinemann/Richard Van Huizen of Canada and Frenchmen Kevin Ces/Yannick Salvetti respectively. Brazil's Pedro Cunha/Rogerio Ferreira beat India's Andi Ardiansyam/Supriadi Supriadl 21-15 and 21-11 while South Africans Gershon Rorich/Colin Pocock eliminated Saulko Pavel/Zabuslayev Pavel from Kazakhstan 21-13, 14-21 and 15-10.

The two-day Qualification Tournament will place the final eight teams in the Main Draw where 24 tandems from 13 countries are confirmed.

Brazil have three teams in the Main Draw led by top seeds Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos, who won the opening men's event of the season in Salvador. Emanuel and Ricardo earned $237,000 from 10 events in 2003 with five tournament titles, including the World Championship Gold Medal last October in Rio de Janeiro.

Following the Lianyugang event, the men's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour continues with a stop next week in Serbia and Montenegro (May 26-30). Other Olympic qualifying events prior to July 11 will be in Portugal, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Germany and Norway.