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

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Brazilian Qualifiers into Semis at Men's China Open
LIANYUNGANG, China, May 22, 2004 - Brazilian qualifiers Pedro Cunha and Rogerio Para cruised into the semi-finals of the 2004 Swatch-FIVB World Tour Men's China Open Saturday afternoon by upsetting Americans Todd Rogers and Sean Scott for their six straight win at the coastal town of Lianyungang.

Cunha and Para, who needed two victories to reach the Main Draw of the third men's event on the 2004 Swatch-FIVB World Tour, scored a comeback win over third seeds Laciga brothers (Paul and Martin) from Switzerland Saturday morning and went on to beat Rogers and Scott 19-21, 27-25 and 22-20 in a hard-fought match lasting for 73 minutes.

"What a tough match!" said Para, who stuffed Scott for the match winner.

"I talked with Cunha a lot at the end of the match and tried to do something different to confuse them. I think that's what helped us win through," he added.

The Brazilians withstood three match points for a 20-19 advantage in the third set. Cunha smashed home a ball to make it 21-20 before Para sealed the victory with a solid block.

Playing in their second Swatch-FIVB World Tour event together, the team of Cunha and Para represents the "young and old" of Brazilian Beach Volleyball. Para is playing his 11th-season on the international tour with eight gold medal finishes while the 21-year-old Cunha, who won the men's FIVB Beach Volleyball U-21 World Championship last August in France with Pedro Solberg Salgado, is playing his third FIVB event.

"We have practiced together for only three months, but we are getting better and better," Para said. "We will try to get a berth in the Athens Olympics although it's hard for us to catch up with the point leaders."

After outlasting fourth seeds Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel from Switzerland 19-21, 22-20 and 15-13, twelfth seeds Javier Bosma and Pablo Herrera of Spain surprised top seeds and world number one tandem Ricardo Santos and Emanuel Rego from Brazil 24-22 and 21-19 in the fourth round of the winner's bracket Saturday afternoon to join Cunha/Para as first semi-finalists.

Ricardo and Emanuel will have another chance to qualify for Sunday's semi-finals in a lower bracket match to be played later on Saturday.