|SALVADOR, BRAZIL, March 17, 2004 - Upsets were the "theme" of the day as lower ranked teams scored break-through wins over the first, third, fifth and 11th-seeded tandems in the second of two days of qualifying for the men's US$180,000 Brazilian Open for beach volleyball.
Top-seeded Eric Fonoimoana and Kevin Wong of the United States were eliminated from the competition by 16th-seeded Pedro Cunha and Pará Ferreira, the first of two Brazilian teams to win qualification matches here Wednesday to advance to the 32-team Main Draw in the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season opener for men.
Brazil's Fabio Magalhães and Paulo Emilio Silva, who were seeded fourth in the 40-team Qualification Tournament, survived a first-set "scare" to score a 28-26 and 21-14 win in 65 minutes over 13th-seeded Fabio Galli and Riccardo Fenili of Italy. The two Brazilian teams join four other teams from their country in the Main Draw, including 2003 FIVB World Champions Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos.
"Yesterday, Pedro's defense carried us," said Pará after the match. "Against the Americans, I had to play better at the net and score some blocks. Near the end of the second set, I had three blocks for points that helped us secure the win."
"I am thrilled to qualify for the Main Draw," said Cunha. "It really means a lot to me in proving that I can play at this level against quality players like Fonoimoana and Wong. Today's win gives me a lot of strength and I have a lot of confidence about playing this game with anyone and against anyone."
Also advancing from the qualifier with upset wins were 12th-seeded Satoshi Watanabe and Katsuhiro Shiratori of Japan, 14th-seeded Kevin Cès and Yannick Salvetti of France and 27th-seeded Sergey Sinkevich and Oleg Kisselev of Kazakhstan.
Conrad Leinemann, who split with long-time partner Jody Holden, earned Canada's second Main Draw berth as he advanced from the qualifier with Richard Van Huizen by winning their match Wednesday. "It was a time for a change," said Leinemann. "Richard is a good blocker and attacker. Working out the last two months in California with our coach (Brian O'Reilly) has really prepared us to play."
Also advancing from the Qualification Tournament on the court in front of the Catussaba Resort Hotel to Thursday's opening Main Draw rounds were second-seeded Sander Mulder and Richard Kogel of the Netherlands and seventh-seeded Kristjan Kais and Rivo Vesik of Estonia.