Men's competition, Marseille
From 14 July To 18 July 2004

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Brazilians, Germans & Swiss Near "Final Four" Berths
MARSEILLE, FRANCE, July 16, 2004 - Teams from Germany and Switzerland joined two tandems from Brazil in moving one step closer to qualifying for the semi-finals in this US$560,000 World Series 13 Beach Volleyball event after winning matches here Friday.

The Brazilians will play each other in the first semi-final qualifying match Saturday as eight-seeded Franco Neto and Tande Ramos challenges fourth-seeded Benjamin Insfran and Marcio Araujo. The other "final four" qualifier has third-seeded Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel of Switzerland facing 18th-seeded Christoph Dieckmann and Andreas Scheuerpflug of Germany.

While the Germans and Swiss controlled their matches Friday, the Brazilians were "locked" into competitive matches against teams from Germany and Argentina. Franco and Tandem upset top-seeded Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckerman of Germany 26-24 and 21-13 in 55 minutes.

The Benjamin/Marcio Araujo win was the longest match of SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event (88 minutes) as the Brazilians scored a 31-29, 19-21 and 15-13 win over fifth-seeded Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde of Argentina.

"That match was long and very tough with either team having a chance to win," said Marico Araujo, who has misted the last two SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events in Norway and Mallorca after finishing fifth last month in the Berlin Grand Slam.

"The team making the fewest mistakes at the end was going to win that match," said Marcio Araujo. "Mariano and Martin always play us tough. I am glad we don't play again today. I am tired and exhausted. In a regular event, we would be playing one or two more times to qualify for the semi-finals."

Christoph Dieckmann and Scheuerpflug scored a 21-15 and 21-13 win in 32 minutes over 26th-seeded Bjorn Maaseide and Iver Horrem of Norway. Heuscher and Kobel posted a 21-19 and 21-11 win over sixth-seeded Sascha Heyer and Markus Egger in an All-Swiss match.

Eight more men's matches will be played Friday in the World Series 13, which also features women's competition. The semi-finals for both genders will be played Saturday with the finals Sunday afternoon where the men's and women's gold medallists each split the $41,500 first-place prizes.