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

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Spaniards Notch First Gold At Men's China Open
LIANYUNGANG, China, May 23, 2004 - Twelfth seeds Javier Bosma and Pablo Herrera of Spain upset top seeds and world No. 1 tandem Ricardo Santos and Emanuel Rego in the final to claim their first SWATCH-FIVB title together at the 2004 Men's China Open here on Sunday.

With the win, Bosma and Herrera shared the $27,000 first-place prize while Ricardo and Emanuel split $18,000 for the silver medal finish.

Bosma and Herrera, who upset Ricardo and Emanuel 24-22 and 21-19 in Saturday's winner's bracket, survived three match points to outlast Ricardo and Emanuel 15-21, 21-19 and 21-19 for their second win in two days over the 2003 FIVB world champions.

"We beat them once yesterday, so we felt we could beat them again," said Bosma before the awarding ceremony. "We kept focused through the match and managed to do some crucial saves and withstand several match points."

Playing before a full capacity crowd of 3,700 at the newly built Lianyungang Stadium, the two tandems split the first two sets, forcing a tiebreaker.

Being up at 14-11 in the third set, Ricardo suddenly lost his momentum. The 2.00-meter Brazilian failed to side out on two consecutive opportunities, allowing the Spaniards overtake the lead at 18-17 and clinch the match in 66 minutes.

"This is our best tournament and we have got our best result," Bosma added. "Lianyungang is a great place and the people are very kind. I really enjoyed the reaction of the audience."

Bosma and Herrera, who teamed up since last season, are playing in their seventh World Tour event together.

It is only the second defeat in eight tries of Emanuel and Ricardo in the finals of FIVB events. They had won six FIVB event title in a row since forming their partnership at the end of the 2002 season before the stunning defeat to compatriots Tande Ramos and Franco Neto in the final of the South Africa Open.

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