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

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Brazilian Qualifiers Highlight Men's China Open
LIANYUNGANG, China, May 21, 2004 - Brazilian qualifiers Pedro Cunha and Rogerio Para highlighted the 2004 Swatch-FIVB World Tour Men's China Open here on Friday as they notched a pair of surprise wins to cruise into the third round of the winner's bracket.

Alexandre Tande and Franco Neto were not as lucky as their countrymen. The second seeds crashed out of the Main Draw following consecutive straight-sets defeats.

After outlasting 11th seeds Francisco Alvarez/Juan Rosell from Cuba in three sets, the 22th-seeded Cunha and Para beat Mariano Baracetti/Martin Conde of Argentina Friday afternoon for their fourth straight victory at the third men's event on the 2004 Swatch-FIVB World Tour.

The Brazilians will challenge third seeds Paul Laciga and Martin Laciga of Switzerland Saturday morning for a berth in top eight.

Ricardo and Emanuel, the world number one tandem who captured the title at the opening event of the 2004 season in Brazil, joined compatriots Cunha and Para in the third round of the Main Draw with victories over Chinese pair Wu Penggen/Yin Rui and Eric Fonoimoana/Kevin Wong of the United States.

Ricardo and Emanuel eyed the title at the first international men's beach volleyball event that has been held in China.

"The event is being held in this city for the first time and that will create a lot of records. I want to put my name in the record," said Emanuel.

Ricardo and Emanuel will face Olympic gold medallist Dain Blanton and Jeff Nygaard of the United States Saturday morning. Blanton, who won the gold medal at the Sydney Olympics with Eric Fonoimoana, held off a strong challenge from Chinese players Xu Linyin and Xu Qiang in their second match Friday afternoon for a 22-20 and 21-17 victory.

Brazil, the United States and Switzerland each had two unbeaten teams after Friday's action while the other two teams making the third round of the winner's bracket came from Australia and Spain.

Eighteen matches will be played Saturday with four teams advancing to Sunday's semi-finals. The medal matches are set for Sunday afternoon at the newly built Lianyungang Stadium with the winning team splitting the $27,000 first-place prize.